Published on January 19th, 2016 | by Mark Chesnut


The Top On-Time Airlines & Airports in Latin America: OAG Reveals the Best

The Punctuality League sounds like an extremely well-mannered group of superheroes, charged with ensuring that no one shows up late for appointments. But no, it’s actually a ranking organized by OAG, the aviation data company (if you’re as old as I am, you may recall it was once known as the Official Airline Guide). And now, the latest results from OAG’s Punctuality League 2015 have been released, showing which airlines and airports had the best on-time performance.

If you’re looking to travel on time and make your connections, you might want to take note of the winning airlines and airports.

The big winners in Latin America? Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport (PTY) and Copa Airlines, which operates a hub at that very airport. According to the report, just over nine out of ten flights arrive and leave on time at Panama City, making the airport and airline the top performers in Latin America.

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The global winner is Latvian airline airBaltic (yeah, I’ve never flown that one either) once again leads the airline rankings, with an average On-Time Performance (OTP) rating of 94.39%. But Latin America scores pretty well on the world stage; airBaltic is followed by Panama’s Copa Airlines (91.69%) and Brazil’s low-cost carrier (LCC) Azul (91.03%) comes in third place – which places it as the leading discount airline for on-time performance anywhere in the world, closely followed by fellow Brazilian airline, Gol (86.45%), which comes in third.

In the airport categories, Panama City Tocumen International (92.55%) is ranked third in the Best Small Airport category after Osaka Itami Airport (93.85%) and Brussels South Charleroi Airport (93.61%). After Tokyo Haneda Airpor(91.25%) and Munich (87.71%), São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (87.47%) is ranked third in the Best Large Airport category.

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“Latin America’s airports and airlines operate highly efficiently in the region,” said John Grant, senior analyst at OAG. “Centrally located, Panama City has for many years been the real hub between Central/South and North America and, due to its position and excellent reputation, is securing new international services from long-haul markets capitalizing on that powerful hub presence, strengthened by Panama’s flag carrier Copa Airlines.

This is good news for Panama City, which continues to grow as a regional hub. “In February, Panama City will welcome the arrival of the world’s longest flight, as Emirates launches its services connecting Central America with the Middle East,” noted Grant. “Panama City will provide an excellent option for key imports and travellers from the Middle East to access Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. Latin America’s aviation industry will continue to support the regional economy, with this hub airport playing a significant role.”

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Most On-Time Airlines in Latin America (Compared Globally)
2. Copa Airlines 91.69%

3. Azul 91.03%

7. TAM 89.50%

Most On-Time Airlines in Latin America (Compared Regionally)
1. Copa Airlines 91.69%
2. Azul 91.03%
3. TAM  89.50%
4. GOL  86.45%
5. Avianca  85.22%
6. Ocean Air  83.94%
7. LAN Airlines  80.86%
8. Caribbean Airlines  79.32%
9. Aeromexico 77.98%
10. Aerolineas Argentinas 74.29%

Most Improved Airline in Latin America
Avianca — 9.7 point improvement

Best Small Airports in Latin America
The Top 20 small airports (less than 10,000 seats per year) on average ensured that 89.8% of arriving and departing flights were within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival and departure times in 2015. This was unchanged from 2014.

3. Panama City ranked 3rd, with 92.55%

12. Medellin ranked 12th, with an on-time performance of 88.51%

17. Porto Alegre, 17th, 87.65%

18. Cali ranked 18th, with an on-time performance of 87.61%

20. Curitiba ranked 20th, 87.38%

Best Medium-sized Airports in Latin America
The Top 20 Airports in the medium category (10,000 to 20,000 seats per year) on average ensured that 86.2% of arriving and departing flights were within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival and departure times in 2015. This marked an improvement from 85.5% last year.

Three airports in Brazil – São Paulo-Congonhas (CGH), Brasilia (BSB) and Rio de Janeiro (GIG) – all make it into the Top 20, as do two other airports in Latin America: Bogota (BOG) and Santiago (SCL).

6. São Paulo-Congonhas 87.81%

13. Brasilia 85.49%

18. Bogota 83.79%

19. Santiago 83.72%

20. Rio de Janeiro 83.53%

Best Large Airports in Latin America
The top 20 large airports (more than 20,000 seats per year) on average ensured that 83.3% of arriving and departing flights were within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival and departure times in 2015. This marked a slight improvement from 82.9% last year. Comparisons to the average on-time performance for the small and medium-sized airport categories highlight that in general, the largest airports appear to have the most difficulty meeting published scheduled times.

3. São Paulo Guarulhos GRU 87.47%

Most Improved Airports in Latin America
Three Colombian airports also appear to be taking steps to improve performance, averaging almost a 10 percentage point improvement compared to last year.

3.  Cali (improved by 10.4 points)

4. Medellin (improved by 10.1 points)

5. Bogota (improved by 8.4 points)

Top Megahub Airports in Latin America
In 2015, OAG published its Megahubs Index, listing global airports with the largest number of potential connections between flights on a chosen day. Looking at this grouping from a different perspective helps place performance into wider context, given all the different variables at play for these kinds of airports. Two Brazil airports — both in São Paulo — scored high in this ranking.2. São Paulo – Congonhas CGH 87.81%
3. São Paulo – Guarulhos GRU 87.47%
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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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