The Guardian - Gwyn Topham

Passengers faced average 30-minute wait, slightly worse than Manchester during 2022’s travel chaos

Flight departures from Birmingham were on average half an hour behind schedule in 2022, marginally worse than Manchester, in a year marked by chaos for travellers.

Average lateness more than doubled from 2021, when Birmingham was also ranked worst for delays, as the end of travel restrictions led to an influx of returning customers in understaffed airports.

An analysis by the PA news agency of punctuality from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) found the average departure delay across all UK airports was 23 minutes in 2022, with the worst performance in May and June, as airports and airlines struggled to recruit enough new staff in areas such as security and ground handling to meet demand, triggering chaos for passengers.

Birmingham’s average 30-minute delay was just worse than Manchester, where some of the most chaotic scenes took place in the first half of the year. Manchester’s 29-minute average was matched by Doncaster Sheffield, which closed down entirely in November.

Luton and London Gatwick, the major bases of easyJet, which was forced to cancel swathes of flights, had the next longest delays.

East Midlands airport, which primarily serves cargo, was the best-performing airport, with an average delay of 13 minutes.

The UK’s biggest airport, London Heathrow, performed marginally better than the average, at 22 minutes behind schedule, after imposing a cap on passenger numbers in the summer to improve operations.

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