If you absolutely, positively must get to your destination on-time — or at least within 15 minutes of your flight's scheduled arrival time — fly All Nippon Airways.
Or Scandinavian Airlines if you are in Europe. Or Alaska Airlines if you want to get around North America in a timely manner.
That's according to FlightStats.com's latest On-Time Performance Service (OPS) awards, an annual ranking of the most punctual airlines in the world. The company's definition of "on-time" is within 15 minutes of scheduled arrival time.
FlightStats.com is an independent publisher of flight information and other travel-related data, which ranks airlines (and airports) monthly and yearly. The awards are based on flight status and arrival data aggregated from civil aviation authorities, airlines, airports and major airline reservation systems.
All Nippon Airways won the top prize, beating out Japan Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Gulf Air, and Scandinavian Airlines for best arrival performance among major international airlines. All Nippon's yearly average for 2011 was 90.18 percent of flights arriving on-time.
The top performing major North American airline was Alaska, which clocked in at 87.79 percent, besting runners-up Delta , United , AirTran and US Airways .
Among European airlines, SAS won the top award with 88.22 percent of on-time arrivals, beating out Finnair, Ryanair, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and LOT Polish Airlines.
All Nippon also won the Asian airlines category, where it contended with JAL, Singapore Airlines, Bangkok Airways and Korean Air Lines.
FlightStats also ranks smaller carriers, which, not surprisingly, regularly beat out the majors in terms of punctuality. According to Keith Gerr, marketing director for FlightStats, smaller airlines have fewer planes and often operate from less crowded airports, which means they have an advantage over larger airlines.
For example, in May 2012, Horizon Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alaska Air, and Hawaiian Airlines nabbed the #1 and #2 spots on the list of best North American regional carriers, with impressive scores of 93.7 percent and 93.05 percent, respectively. In fact, the top five regional airlines in the U.S. in May all scored 87 percent or higher, which means they met or exceeded the top major carrier, Alaska Airlines.