(Montreal) Air Canada ranks last in on-time performance among major North American air carriers in 2023, according to a report from aviation data company Cirium.

Canada’s largest airline arrived on time for 63% of its flights last year. The company is thus in last place among the 10 largest airlines in North America. Approximately 140,000 planes arrived late at the gate, more than 15 minutes after their scheduled arrival time.

This figure was five percentage points lower than the second and third lowest carriers, JetBlue Airways and Frontier Airlines, respectively.

WestJet, the other major Canadian carrier, ranked seventh with an on-time rate of 69%.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines comes in first with a rate of 85%, followed by Alaska Airlines with 82%.

Air Canada says these results “reflect the challenges that have affected air carriers in Canada throughout the year.” “However, our operations have consistently improved, such that by the end of the year our monthly on-time performance improved by more than 10 percentage points compared to July, a significant increase,” said its spokesperson, Peter Fitzpatrick, in an email.

Reducing the number of delayed and canceled flights remains a priority for the company, he added.

President and CEO Michael Rousseau admitted that Air Canada’s on-time performance rate was relatively lower, especially after a rash of flight delays in June and July.

Even with more staff and technology investments, the carrier’s operations didn’t always match “expectations,” he told analysts on a conference call in August.

The Air Canada honcho blamed his difficulties on “severe weather conditions” – thunderstorms in particular – and global supply chain problems. “We spend a lot of time improving our punctuality,” he insisted.

He also acknowledged that high occupancy rates – when all planes are almost fully booked – led to knock-on effects after flights were canceled as passengers rushed to rebook with competitors and could arrive hours or hours later. days later than expected.

Winter obstacles make it difficult to achieve a punctuality rate in Canada similar to those observed in the United States.

The relatively mild temperatures across the country during the holidays allowed most passengers to travel without a hitch. This result contrasts with reports of difficult travel last year, when thousands of passengers saw their flights delayed or canceled largely due to poor weather conditions.