By Peter Woodman
Holidaymakers faced fewer delays on charter flights last summer than for many years.
A total of 79 per cent of charter flights to and from leading UK airports were on time in summer 2013 (July to September), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said.
This was 2 per cent better than the summer 2012 charter flight performance and the best summer figure for at least eight years.
The average charter flight delay last summer was 16 minutes compared with 19 minutes in summer 2012.
Flight on-time figure reached 80%
The scheduled flight on-time figure for last summer reached 80 per cent - the same as in summer 2012. The average delay time was unchanged at 12 minutes
The statistics covered flights in and out of the "London" airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, London City - as well as the regional airports of Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The on-time charter flight figure for the regional airports last summer reached 80 per cent with the average delay falling to just five minutes.
On-time charter performance at the London airports last summer fell from 78 per cent to 77 per cent, with the average delay unchanged at 17 minutes.
Among the busiest scheduled flight destinations, Billund in Denmark had the highest on-time figure (90 per cent) last summer and Rotterdam the lowest average delay delay - of 4.9 minutes.
Flights to and from Lisbon achieved the lowest on-time performance of 65.9 per cent and Los Angeles the highest average delay - of 22.1 minutes.
The CAA figures showed that in summer 2013 there were 372,000 scheduled and 29,000 charter passenger flights at the 10 airports monitored for punctuality by the CAA.
'Good to see most passengers arrived in reasonable time'
This represents a 1.9 per cent increase in scheduled flights and a 2.7 per cent increase in charter flights compared with summer 2012.
CAA group regulatory policy director Iain Osborne said: "These figures highlight industry's performance for aviation's busiest period of the year, with millions of passengers taking flights for their summer holidays.
"It is therefore good to see that most passengers arrived at their destination in reasonable time.
"However, this still means many passengers suffered disruption over the summer and we continue to challenge all parts of the aviation industry to work in partnership to improve punctuality and the experience of the UK's travelling public."
Meanwhile, bosses at Stansted reported the busiest December at the Essex airport since 2009, with passenger numbers last month rising 7.7 per cent to nearly 1.32 million.
The festive figures boosted total 2013 numbers at Stansted to just over 17.84 million - a 2.2 per cent rise on 2012 and the first full-year growth since 2007.