Thomas Cook Airlines suffered the worst delays compared to any other major airline last year, Which? Travel has claimed

Passengers had a one in nine chance of arriving back from their holidays more than an hour late, analysis by the consumer group found.

Some 11.5% of the carrier’s incoming flights touched down 60 minutes after schedule – up from 7% in 2014.

The study also disclosed that easyJet (8.7%), Tui Airways (8.1%) and Ryanair (7.8%) aircraft were all significantly more delayed in 2018 than four years previously.

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Some 6.2% of all flights were delayed by more than an hour last year, compared with just over 4% in 2014.

The figures cover a year of “fairly unprecedented” air traffic control strikes and bad weather, which are outside airlines’ control.

However, Which? Travel said that Jet2 proved that a rapidly growing budget airline can still deliver on punctuality – 5.3% of flights were more than an hour late, down from 5.9% in 2014. British Airways also showed an improved performance.

The most delayed route for major airlines at UK airports was Stansted to Dalaman in Turkey with almost one in four of all incoming and outgoing flights delayed by more than an hour.

Passengers travelling to and from neighbouring Antalya from Stansted with Thomas Cook fared little better.

Thomas Cook said that its punctuality performance suffered because it cancelled less flights than other airlines.

“We always want to get our customers on holiday on time and have taken steps to improve punctuality this year, including operating more reserve aircraft to help get flights back on time quickly if delays happen,” it added.

Seven of the ten worst routes were operated by Ryanair with flights between Liverpool and Milan Malpensa seeing almost one in four flights an hour behind schedule.

The other six Ryanair routes to make the top ten were all to and from Stansted, the airline’s main UK base.

Stansted was identified as the UK’s worst-performing airport in 2018, with more than 10% of flights departing an hour late at an average of nearly half an hour.

High-profile walkouts by Ryanair’s pilots and cabin crew played their part in Stansted’s poor performance.

Ryanair said it did not wish to comment on the findings. A spokesperson pointed to in-house statistics published on its website.

Which? Travel analysed Civil Aviation Authority flight punctuality data from 2014-18. Airports were compared on departure punctuality; airlines on arrival punctuality; specific routes by combining both. Cancelled flights were not included in the analysis.

It found that there were more than 2.25 million aircraft movements across the UK last year compared with just over 1.5 million in 2014.

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