By the end of 2021, Russian airlines have lost their punctuality

The average punctuality of flights of 16 Russian airlines in December 2021 was 50.3%, according to the British Aviation Statistics Agency OAG and the calculations of “Vedomosti”. This is a weaker figure compared to November 2021 (67.3%) and December-like 2019 (68.45%). OAG considers a delayed flight departure or arrival more than 15 minutes later than scheduled.

The list of airlines now OAG has included “Aeroflot”, “Victory”, “Russia”, S7, Azur air, Red Wings, Smartavia, “Ural Airlines”, Utair, “Gazprom”, “Izhavia”, AK “Alrosa”, Nordstar , Severstal airline Yamal, Yakutia. In December 2020, the agency did not include data on “Russia” and “Yakutia”, which does not allow direct comparison of ratings. But the average for 14 Russian air carriers was also higher at that time – 56.8% against 54.2% in December 2021.

In December 2021, the largest carriers of the Russian Federation were among the top six in terms of passenger traffic, according to OAG statistics. “Victory” performed without delay 71.9% of flights, ranking only 83rd among companies in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and first among Russian. Aeroflot did not delay 71.8% of flights, S7 Airlines – 62%, Utair – 57.8%, Russia – 46.2%. Of the major carriers lower than others in the ranking were “Ural Airlines”: only 36, 5% of the airline’s flights were performed without serious delays. The company ranked 140th out of 150 airlines in the EMEA rankings. Below it were the smaller carriers Nordstar (35.9%, 142nd place), Gazprom (22.2%, 147th place) and Yakutia (0.6%, 149th place).

In 2019, the situation looked much more positive. Then in December the most punctual among both Russian and global airlines OAG called “Russia” (100% of flights performed on time), followed by “Aeroflot” (86%), Utair (79.6%), S7 Airlines (75, 8%) and “Victory” (74.5%). Ural Airlines then performed 71% of flights on time, closing the top 6 largest carriers in Russia. At the end of 2020, the punctuality of Aeroflot’s flights was 86.5%, Victory – 72.2%, S7 – 65.9%, Utair – 61.8%, Ural Airlines – 46.1%.

In the “Ural Airlines” massive flight delays were observed in the summer and early autumn of 2021. According to OAG, in May without delay the carrier managed to perform only 50% of flights, in June and July – 32% and 32.5%, respectively, in August – 25%, in September – 28%. In the company itself, OAG statistics were considered incorrect due to too short a period of time, which the agency considers a flight delay. “15-20 minutes required for taxiing is a normal phenomenon. Everyone except Aeroflot had a problem with regularity this year, ”Sergei Skuratov, the airline’s general director, told RBC in November. The top manager stressed that “the press does not report the delays recorded by Rosaviatsia.” But he acknowledged that there were problems with delays and explained them by the postponement of deliveries to the airline’s fleet of four new Airbus, as well as the shortage of staff at airports, which reduced the staff to a pandemic.

A representative of Ural Airlines Vera Gasnikova told Vedomosti that OAG statistics also take into account cargo flights of airlines on re-certified passenger planes. But the logistics of such flights, she said, are more complicated because they are performed under a specific customer: “The departure time of cargo planes is sometimes significantly different from the previous schedule and can be shifted by several hours and even days.” In the current autumn-winter season, Ural Airlines, according to the company, out of 52 aircraft, 8 perform such charter flights with cargo.

Rosaviatsia records flight delays of two hours or more. According to this method, the “Ural Airlines” in November 2021, the regularity of passenger flights was 97, 4%, the projected regularity for December 2021 – 95%, said Gasnikov. At the same time, since mid-2019, Rosaviatsia will not publish data on the punctuality of flights, but continues to keep statistics, as this criterion is taken into account when issuing permits for international destinations. The interlocutor of “Vedomosti” in one of the airlines said that after the incident with the icy plane of the airline S7 on December 2 (then the flight Magadan-Novosibirsk made an emergency landing in Irkutsk) Rosaviatsia recommended to strengthen control over anti-icing treatment. “This has led to an increase in the training time of each aircraft by 10 minutes,” he says.

The S7 agreed with the trends of the statistics of the British agency: According to the company’s internal metrics in December, the S7 observes the same trends as OAG analysts. Punctuality is declining due to a combination of two factors – difficult weather conditions and an increase in the number of flights from carriers due to increased demand for flights in the New Year period. Representatives of “Russia”, Utair and “Victory” also linked the frequent delays with weather conditions. “Difficult weather conditions in December 2021, due to heavy snowfalls and temperature fluctuations, caused 34% of delays (compared to 23% in December 2020). . This caused a delay of 7% of flights, ”Russian spokesman Sergei Starikov said. “Victory” spokeswoman Elena Selivanova added that the punctuality of the low-cost carrier’s flights is stronger than that of competitors, depending on weather conditions, “because” Victory “has no extra planes that stand idle on concrete and can be used in case of flight delay.” She also drew attention to the lack of resources at regional airports.

Representatives of Rosaviatsia and the Ministry of Transport declined to comment to Vedomosti. Rosaviatsia only clarified that it does not plan to resume publication of its data on delays. An Aeroflot representative did not respond to a request at the time of publication.

“On the lack of delay flights airlines influenced flight intensity after the recession in pandemic (redemption rate is now very high) and reformatting a route network of airlines under the flights to the regions where airports experience complexity with technical equipment, – says the director of the agency” Airport “Oleg Panteleev . “Often regional airports have one existing runway, with its closure to clear snow stops the reception of aircraft.” According to him, the shortage of flight personnel in the market also prevents airlines from adapting to the growth of passenger traffic.

The only way to solve the problem is to wait for the situation on the air market to stabilize, Panteleev thinks. “So far the growth rate [авиаперевозок] if we do not return to the insignificant ones, we will still face flight delays, ”the expert thinks. Formally, Rosaviatsia has the leverage to “punish” carriers for non-punctuality, and the agency regularly conducts proceedings on cases of major delays, there were precedents of non-issuance of permits for international flights. But despite this, according to Panteleev, airlines are simply not able to strictly follow the schedule during periods of rapid growth in air traffic.

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