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Airlines, airports and air traffic control services have been urged to act after official figures out today (Monday) revealed that airlines suffered the worst punctuality performance in five years last summer.

The UK’s aviation regulator revealed that passenger numbers hit an all time high of more than 78 million in the July to September peak period, a 5.5% rise over summer 2014.

But the on-time performance by carriers fell by three percentage points to 73% and average delays rose by a minute across 24 airports studied.

London airports dropped from 73% to 69% year-on-year while regional airports fell from 80% to 77%.

This came as demand for European destinations rose by 6.4%, long-haul by 1.4% and domestic by 5.7%.

A rolling annual total of 250 million passengers broke the previous record of 247 million set in the previous quarter of 2015.

Scheduled passenger growth was driven by London-area airports, up4.8% while regional airports saw 1% growth.

However, charter flights from London and the regions dropped by 3.6% and 0.2% respectively.

CAA policy director, Tim Johnson, said: “The first three quarters in 2015 have been the strongest for passenger numbers since records began.

“Airlines are accommodating the continuing strong passenger demand by carrying the extra passengers on larger aircraft, rather than increasing the number of flights significantly.

“However, punctuality was the worst of any summer period since 2010 – something we know many passengers will have found frustrating and an issue airlines, airports and air traffic control services should work to address.

“The strong passenger demand and a drop in punctuality also underlines the importance of addressing the ongoing pressures on runway capacity in the south-east and the need to modernise the UK’s airspace.”