The number of flight departure delays and cancellations at UK airports rose by 72% since 2015, a new study claims.

Last year saw the biggest increase of 33% in flights cancelled or delayed over three hours compared to 2017, when only 1.31% of flights were affected, according to flight delay compensation law firm Bott and Co.

Cabin crew strikes, re-occurring drone chaos, tightly packed flight schedules and uncertainty over the looming Brexit fiasco, which has continued into 2019, have been blamed.

The results come from research carried out by going through the firm’s unique flight data from a number of sources and looking at European airlines operating at least 3,000 flights a year, a spokeswoman said.

The data saw Virgin Atlantic as the only European airline to have fewer delays and cancellations in 2018 than in 2015 with a 3% reduction.

Norwegian Air stood out as having the biggest upsurge, followed by Spanish low-cost airline Vueling and Air France with 536%.

Now defunct Flybmi, Tui Airways, Jet2 and easyJet all had a doubling in delays and cancellations over the four years, according to the figures.

The law firm’s flight delay compensation solicitor Coby Benson said: “Some of Europe’s major airlines are simply not doing all that they can to minimise delays.

“While some events are outside of the airlines’ control, there are many instances of flights being disrupted by factors within their control.

“Managing disgruntled staff, that lead cabin crew strikes and cramped schedule times that result in passengers being faced with chaos at airports, are just a few examples.”