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Canadian airlines see fewer cancellations as summer travel season kicks off

On-time performance has also broadly improved but still lags behind carriers around the world

The federal government is announcing a revamp of its trusted-traveller program to help clear clogged airports as the summer travel season kicks off. People line up before entering the security at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Friday, August 5, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadian airlines saw fewer flight cancellations and more land on time in June compared to last year, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium, as the busy summer travel season kicked off.(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette) (The Canadian Press)

Canadian airlines saw fewer flight cancellations and more land on time in June compared to last year, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium, as the busy summer travel season kicked off.

The latest data from Cirium showed that 4.1 per cent of scheduled flights – or more than 2,000 – were cancelled by Canadian airlines in the month of June. That's down from last June, when Canadian carriers cancelled 6.4 per cent of scheduled flights, or more than 3,100.

Canada's two biggest airlines reported fewer cancellations this year. Of the more than 25,000 flights Air Canada flew in June, about 1,600 were cancelled, representing a cancellation rate of 6.4 per cent. That's an improvement from last June, when the Montreal-based airline flew roughly the same number of flights but cancelled more than 2,400 of them for a cancellation rate of 9.3 per cent.

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Operations have also improved for WestJet, Canada's second-largest airline. The Calgary-based carrier flew more than 14,000 flights in June and cancelled more than 200, for a cancellation rate of 1.7 per cent. Last year, it flew roughly the same number of flights but cancelled more than 500, for a cancellation rate of 4 per cent.

Porter Airlines, which has expanded operations and started flying out of Toronto's Pearson International Airport earlier this year, was the lone airline of those tracked by Cirium that reported more cancellations this year than in 2022. In June, the airline cancelled 175 of its 4,600 flights, for a cancellation rate of 3.8 per cent. Last year, it flew more than 3,500 flights and cancelled 50, for a cancellation rate of 1.4 per cent.

Last year's summer travel season was marred by chaos at Canadian airports across the country, as a surge in post-pandemic travel demand and labour shortages led to a wave of delays and cancellations.

While on-time performance has also broadly improved at Canadian airlines this year, they still lag behind carriers around the world.

In June, 53 per cent of Air Canada's flights landed on time, measured as landing within 15 minutes of scheduled arrival time. Last year, 41 per cent of Air Canada's flights landed on time. WestJet had an on-time rate of 69 per cent in June, up from 57 per cent last year. Still, U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines had an on-time performance rate of 89 per cent in May.

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

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