Major airlines in US improve on-time arrivals in 2009

Sunday, February 14, 2010, 19:50 by Jose Philip

The major airlines based in the United States achieved in 2009 their best on-time performance rate since 2003.

The 19 airlines reporting on-time performance recorded an arrival rate of 79.5% in 2009, compared to the 82% on-time rate of 2003.

A flight is counted as ‘on-time’ if it arrives less than 15 minutes of the scheduled time of arrival.

The Air Travel Consumer Report released by the United States Department of Transportation say that the rate of t the mishandled baggage by the US-based carriers in 2009 was the lowest since 2004.

According to the information filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) – which is a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration of the US Department of Transportation – the 19 airlines posted, overall, an on-time arrival rate of 79.5% in 2009. This is an improvement over the 76.0% on-time arrival rate recorded in 2008, besides being the best rare since the 82% achieved in 2003.

In 2009, the US-based airlines reported a mishandled luggage rate of 3.91 per 1,000 passengers – better than 5.26 per 1,000 passengers in 2008.

The monthly report furnished by the 19 major US-based carriers, apart from on-time performance, includes data on flight cancellations, the causes of flight delays, tarmac delays, consumer service, airline bumping, instances of pets travelling by air, as well as complaints related to disability and discrimination that the Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division receives.

The airlines cancelled 2.8% of their scheduled domestic flights in December 2009, compared to 3.3% cancellations in December 2008, and 0.5% cancellations of domestic flights in November 2009.

As regards tarmac delays, the 19 airlines stated that .007% of their scheduled flights had undergone tarmac delays of 3 hours or more in December 2009 – down from .0343% in December 2008, but higher than .00079% in November 2009. In December 2009, only one flight experienced a tarmac delay of 4 hours or more.

The US-based airlines reported that 8.57% of their flights were delayed in December 2009 because of aviation system-related delays, as against 3.91% in November 2009.

Of all the flight delays in December 2009, 8.63% was on account of aircraft arriving late (3.23% in November 2009); 6.62% owing to factors within the carriers’ control like problems pertaining to maintenance or crew (3.39% in November 2009); 1.05% due to extreme weather (0.20% in November 2009; and 0.08% thanks to security reasons (0.01% in November 2009).

The airlines reported the rate of mishandled baggage at 5.18 per 1,000 passengers in December 2009 – higher than the all-time low mark of 2.78 per 1,000 passengers in November 2009.

In December 2009, there were 3 incidents that involved loss, injury or death of pets while flying – up from just once such incident reported in December 2008, but down from 4 incidents in November 2009.

Among the biggest airlines, Southwest Airlines came first – with 83% of its flights arriving on time in December 2009. United Airlines topped among the large ‘traditional’ carriers – with 81% flights on-time.

Overall, Hawaiian Airlines – which operates a fraction of the flights of the large airlines – stood first in on-time performance in December 2009.

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