El Al Israel Airlines (TLV:ELAL) does not mess around when it comes to security, but when it comes to its on-time arrival performance, it ranks last, according to flightstats.com.
The Israeli flag carrier is routinely named the most secure airline in the world thanks to its exceedingly thorough passenger interviews, use of armed air marshals on every flight and obsessive attention to screening (check-in times for El Al flights are much longer than for other carriers). Those measures have resulted in no hijackings in the airline's history except for one in 1968. And since its founding in 1948, no El Al passenger jet has ever crashed.
This sterling safety record does not extend to timeliness. In its annual On-time Performance Service Awards released in February, FlightStats showed that El Al had the worst on-time arrival rate at 65 percent, while Gulf Air of Bahrain had the best on-time rate of 91 percent.
The global flight tracker has been aggregating and archiving flight information since 2005, and since 2009, it has released its service awards. FlightStats says it collects real-time flight status information on more than 82 percent of scheduled passenger fights flown by the top 200 airlines worldwide.
In response to flightstats.com findings, El Al said that its on-time performance is constantly improving.
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“Delays in Cyprus' airspace, through which El Al flights pass, sometimes affect the on-time performance and arrival times," the company told Ynetnews.com, an online Israeli daily, in a statement Tuesday. El Al said it turned to Eurocontrol, the European organization for the safety of air navigation, to help solve the problem.