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Delays, cancellations, etc.; when we take a 'plane, the departure time, but above all the arrival time, is, for many of us, extremely important. In recent years, therefore, punctuality has become a priority for airlines. Every year since 2009, FlightStats, an American company, has published its list of ''Airline on-time performance service award winners''. All this after having scrutinized more than 400 carriers, and taking into account 85% of commercial flights in the world.

Jim Hetzel, Vice President FlightStats:

"Airlines are evaluated based on the timeliness of their actual flight arrival compared to their schedule arrival. Airlines typically calculate their On Time Performance, or their O.T.P., based on 15 minutes of the schedule arrival time. The 15 minute threshold takes into consideration factors that are not necessarily in the control of the airline like airport congestion, taxi times from the runways, gate availability, those tend to be in the control of air traffic control or the airport itself."

And in terms of punctuality it is Japan Airlines that was tops in 2013. Nearly 89% of their flights arrived on time last year. To establish its rankings, FlightStats uses information from more than 300 different sources. Another Japanese company, one from the Middle East, an American company and four European companies appear in the top 10 of carriers who strive for excellence in schedule adherence.

Jim Hetzel, Vice President FlightStats:

"What you need to understand when you look at the numbers is that delays will happen, it is kind of the nature of air travel; although they are certainly entrusted to get you from point A to point B in a time and manner, more important than that is they need to get you from point A to point B safely."

Air travel remains, by far, the safest means of transport in the world, and airlines increasingly now emphasize punctuality as a selling point to convince passengers to join them on board.

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