By Mark Stillman
Flight punctuality at leading UK airports dropped in the first quarter of 2013, according to new figures.
This means airport passengers are having to wait longer in departure lounges, many of them doubtless glad they took out travel insurance.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) monitored scheduled flights at Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, London City, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports.
The amount arriving and departing on time here from January-March 2013 was 78 per cent - a 4 per cent drop on the same three-month period in 2012.
The typical delay across all scheduled flights monitored was 13 minutes - three minutes more than in the first quarter of last year.
The punctuality of charter flights in the first three months of 2013 period dropped 2 per cent to 69 per cent, while the average delay dipped from 22 minutes to 21 minutes, the CAA said.
CAA group regulatory policy director Iain Osborne said: "Passengers have a right to expect their flight to get them to their destination on time, so it's disappointing to see that flight punctuality fell during the first quarter of this year.
"And while it's true that the majority of passengers did still arrive at their destination in reasonable time, it's regrettable that a large number of people also endured delays - even taking into account the poor weather at the start of the year.
"We now call on airlines, airports and air traffic control to work together to consider how best to prevent delays and improve flight punctuality across the board."
Meanwhile Kenya Airways has emerged as the most punctual airline at Heathrow International Airport.
The facility's own figures show that the airways' flights departing from the airport were 100 per cent on time, and 83 per cent of those arriving were punctual.