Kenya Airways (KQ) has outshone its long-standing rival, Ethiopian Airlines, in the race for punctuality supremacy. According to a meticulous analysis of on-time performance (OTP) by aviation analytics firm Cirium, KQ secured the title of the most punctual African flag carrier in 2023.

A staggering 71.86 percent on-time arrival rate for over 30,000 flights out of 41,905 in the year places Kenya Airways at the top of the African aviation pyramid. This marks a significant turnaround for KQ, considering Ethiopian Airlines has held this prestigious position for the past five years.

It’s noteworthy that South Africa’s Safair, a privately-owned low-cost carrier, claimed the overall crown in Africa with a remarkable 92.36 percent on-time performance, setting a high bar for others to aspire to.

In the broader Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, Kenya Airways secured the tenth spot in the list of most punctual airlines. Oman Air, the flag carrier of Oman, stole the show with an impressive 92.53 percent on-time arrival rate.

This achievement signifies a considerable leap for KQ, especially when compared to its 2022 performance, where it didn’t even make it to the top 10. The airline’s progress highlights the dynamism in the aviation industry, where rankings can shift dramatically within a short span.

On-time performance is more than just a statistical measure; it directly impacts revenues and customer satisfaction. Anthony Brooks, an aircraft appraiser, emphasizes its role as a potent tool in brand marketing campaigns when consistently high.

However, KQ’s success in 2023 wasn’t without its share of challenges. Despite excelling for the first ten months of the year, the airline faced delays in November and December, slightly denting its overall punctuality score.

This development adds an interesting chapter to the ongoing rivalry between Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. As KQ basks in its newfound glory, the aviation enthusiasts and passengers alike will be watching closely to see if this trend holds or if Ethiopian Airlines will mount a comeback in the coming years.