The worst airports for flight delays in the UK - where Gatwick ranks compared to Heathrow, Manchester and Luton

Gatwick Airport was among the worst in the UK for flight delays, an investigation has found.

Departures from the Sussex airport were 27 minutes behind schedule on average in 2022, according to analysis of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data by the PA news agency.

Birmingham Airport was the worst in the UK for flight delays for a second year in a row, with an average delay of half-an-hour.

East Midlands Airport had the best performance, with an average delay of just 13 minutes. The average across all airports was 23 minutes.

A London Gatwick spokesperson said: “A rapid bounce back of passenger demand following COVID-19 travel restrictions drove some operational challenges at London Gatwick last year. In response, the airport took early action, including recruiting over 400 security staff to reduce delays. The airport has increased its resources again for this summer and we are looking forward to providing the service our passengers expect.”

Rory Boland, editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: “Your choice of airport shouldn’t make or break your trip, but for too many travellers last year that was sadly their experience.

“A repeat of last year’s chaos cannot be allowed to stand again, and airports and airlines must ensure they’re working together to ensure they can deliver their summer schedules as promised, while the government must urgently grant the CAA the powers it needs to hold the industry to account.

“With at least some level of disruption sadly probable as we head into another busy travel season, airports’ delay records are something some travellers may well want to take into consideration, even if that involves travelling slightly further from home.”

CAA head of consumer Anna Bowles added: “Our data tells us that too many passengers faced disappointing levels of delays across UK airports last year. It is important consumers experience a high-quality service from both airlines and airports this year. We expect airlines to proactively provide passengers with information about their rights when flights are disrupted.”

The analysis took into account all scheduled and chartered departures. Cancelled flights were not included. When flights are significantly delayed, airlines are required under consumer laws to provide passengers with assistance, which can include refreshments, a means of communication and accommodation if required.

If the cause of disruption is under an airline’s control, passengers are also due compensation of up to £520 depending on the length of the delay and the distance of the flight. May and June were the worst months for flight reliability in 2022 as the aviation sector failed to recruit and train enough staff to cope with a surge in demand for holidays.

You can view the full list of the worst UK airports for flight delays in the gallery below.