Latin America’s best and worst Airlines and Airports based on flight delays and cancellations

The Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC) region has made an impressive comeback in 2023 with a 28.3% increase in international passengers compared to 2022 suggesting a strong recovery. Although there are some indisputable improvements, since the aftermath of the pandemic, the aviation industry has been facing many difficulties such as increased fuel prices, high unemployment rates and labor strikes. These factors along with other challenges are resulting in many flights being delayed or canceled, costing time and money to both travelers and companies.

The team at BestBrokers was curious to see which airlines and airports struggled the most with their on-time performance (OTP) last year so we dived into the topic to find out. Based on the flight delays data we analyzed, we discovered that the least dependable airline in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2023 is Intercaribbean Airways with a total of 44.01% delayed or canceled flights and the least punctual airport is Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize with 35.55% of flights delayed or canceled.

The Worst Airlines in Latin America & the Caribbean

Apart from the staffing shortages and rising prices, which are a major concern globally, Latin America and the Caribbean is facing significant pressure, more than any other region, for the environmental impact of the aviation industry. Airlines operating in these countries are having to adjust to more sustainable practices and eco-friendly technologies in order to ensure their place in the market for the upcoming years. Air travel and tourism are two of the biggest income generators for the area which is why over US$40 billion are expected to be invested in Latin America’s aviation sector by 2040.

During 2023, some airlines including Aeromar, Amaszonas, EQUAIR, Ultra Air, and Viva Air struggled with finances, went bankrupt and ceased to operate for good.

The regional airline based in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Intercaribbean Airways is the region’s worst-performing company on this ranking, with only 55.99% of its 21,967 flights arriving on time in 2023. The Argentinian flag carrier Aerolineas Argentinas is the second least punctual company with 26.16% delayed flights and another 3.00% canceled in 2023. Jetsmart is the last airline in the top three, with 26.91% of flights arriving late and 1.07% canceled altogether.

A worthwhile fact to mention is that all LAC airlines, apart from Intercaribbean Airways (55.99%) have scored an on-time performance (OTP) rating higher than 70%, which is a better score than any other region in the world for airlines with more than 20,000 passengers in 2023.

The Best Airlines in Latin America & the Caribbean

The airlines in Latin America and the Caribbean have made one of the biggest recoveries since the pandemic with an 8.1% increase in passenger numbers since 2019. The country with the highest growth rate, at 19%, is Mexico, leading the way to an improved and flourishing aviation industry in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Despite the collapse of a few companies in 2023, others came up to the stage like Aerus, BermudAir, Mexicana de Aviación, Señor Air, and Wingo Panama, providing travelers with even more flight options.

Mexico’s Volaris is the only airline in LAC with an OTP rating higher than 90%, achieving 92.68% timely arrivals. The company is the largest carrier in the country with 33.4 million passengers last year which is a 7.9% increase from 2022. The airline began operations in 2006 and has since grown its fleet from 4 to 129 aircraft and route network from 5 to the noteworthy 231 flights. Volaris is acquiring 25 new A321neo aircraft, which is the second biggest order for 2024 in the region after VivaAerobus with 90.

Panama’s Copa Airways marked its tenth anniversary of being founded in December last year. The airline achieved an 89.26% OTP and the lowest percentage of canceled flights for LAC with only 0.16%. Furthermore, to strengthen its presence in the region, Copa Airways is adding 90 new routes throughout the Americas in 2024. With a rise in both passengers and flights over the course of the previous year, the airline has secured a fantastic start to 2024.

The third place on this ranking is for the Chilean LATAM Airlines Group with 85.78% of on-time arrivals. It is another Latin American airline to achieve strong financial results in 2023. The company just recently updated their partnership with Delta Airlines introducing new mutual routes between LAC and North America. LATAM has also renewed a 5-year contract with Touch Inflight Solutions, a leader in next-generation in-flight technologies to enhance their passengers’ experience.

The Worst Airports in Latin America & the Caribbean

With three entries on the ten worst airports list, Mexico is the country with the greatest number of unreliable airports, followed by the Dominican Republic and Brazil, each with two. The Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize ranks the worst in LAC with a total of 35.55% of delayed and canceled flights due to the high demand of tourists during the summer. In May 2023, the airport increased its airport fee by 100%, from $18 to $36. This meant that foreign tourists would have to pay twice as much to fly from there. According to officials, the hike is intended to fund a renovation plan that will cost nearly $250 million. The project aims to rebuild and renovate the airport over the next ten to fifteen years in order to increase its passenger capacity.

Another airport, struggling to deliver on-time flights last year is the Santos Dumont Airport in Rio de Janeiro. With 32.71% delayed and canceled flights, it ranks second-worst on this list. In August 2023, the Brazilian government tried to restrict the airport’s operations to flights within a 400-kilometer radius, reportedly in an effort to increase traffic at Rio de Janeiro’s main airport, Galeão International Airport. According to an International Air Transport Association (IATA) spokesman, the restriction would have had a significant negative impact on the nation’s aviation business, limiting customer choice, and disrupting numerous carriers. The decision was overruled and the airport was not affected. Santos Dumont is also expecting a solid enhancement from the government for renovations and general improvements for $58 million in the upcoming years.

The Las Américas International Airport near Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic is the third worst airport for OTP with 69.40% on-time departures. It also had the most delayed flights (29.69%) in the region in 2023. The weather conditions on and around the Caribbean islands are always uncertain in the summer and can often be a leading cause of flight disruptions. In August of last year, Tropical Storm Franklin hit the area, causing damaging winds, landslides, and floodings. 37 flights were affected in Santo Domingo including ones from Las Américas International Airport.

The summer season is the busiest time of the year for Caribbean airports and in 2023, seat occupancy rates of arriving aircraft in the Las Américas airport maintained levels of no less than 90-95%. As a result, on-ground operations were hectic and slow, and terminals were packed. In response, the president of the Dominican Republic, together with VINCI airports, announced plans to completely renovate and optimize the Las Américas airport for a total of €14 million over the next few years.

Many of the continuous problems throughout LAC are linked to high levels of debt, uncertain inflation and a conflict between sustainability and significant economic development. Factors like crime, poverty and the lack of good-quality infrastructure throughout many countries, make it more difficult and uncertain not only for tourists, but also for investors to contribute to the improvement of the region.

The Best Airports in Latin America and the Caribbean

Based on our research, the Brasília–Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport is LAC’s most punctual airport in 2023, with 92.58% of on-time departures. It also achieved 5.32% of delayed flights (the lowest in the region) and a cancelation rate of only 2.10%. Peru’s Jorge Chávez International Airport is the biggest one in the best airports list with 78,620 departing passengers in 2023, landing in second place with 91.91% OTP rating. The Tocumen International Airport in Panama rounds up the top three, with the lowest percentage of cancellations (0.12%) in the region and a total score of 90.53% on-time flights.

Latin America and the Caribbean has recently focused heavily on adopting technologies such as biometrics, AI, and automation of airport operations in order to be more competitive and decrease flight disruptions. The major challenges the region is facing are linked to infrastructure and sustainability. The increasing demand for travel is bringing with itself a wave of more planes, airports and possibilities for higher prices and more flight disruptions. This is a balance the region needs to find in the upcoming years.

According to Airports Council International (ACI), the world’s aviation sector will rebound and exceed 2019 flight levels in 2024. Based on the current economic conditions and trends, it also expects LAC to be the leader in this recovery, welcoming 759 million passengers, which would be a 110.5% growth over pre-pandemic levels for the region.


The BestBrokers team examined the statistics from OAG‘s on-time performance (OTP) data for 2023 in order to rank the best and worst airlines and airports in Latin America and the Caribbean. OAG is a data provider for flights, technology and statistics in the aviation industry among other fields, founded in the UK.

First, we calculated the number of on-time flights, delays and cancellations for each airline or airport by adding the data from their monthly performances, thus receiving detailed information about their yearly results. Then, we compared the figures to the total number of flights for the whole year for each airline or airport to receive the final ranking. The analysis includes airlines and airports with more than 20,000 flights for 2023.