On-time performance of US-based airlines drop in October 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009, 5:49 by Jose Philip

On-time performance of airlines based in the United State declined in October 2009.

Also, in October 2009, the passenger-aviation industry in the US mishandled more bags and also received more complaints compared to September 2009, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the United States Department of Transportation.

In a positive development, the costs of aviation turbine fuel went down in October 2009.

The 19 United States-based airlines reporting on-time performance recorded an overall rate of 77.3% – down from 86% in October 2008, and 86.2% in September 2009.

(A flight is counted as ‘on time’ if it operates less than 15 minutes after the scheduled time shown in the computerized reservation system of the airline concerned).

Hawaiian Airlines, owned by Hawaiian Holdings Incorporated, again recorded the best on-time performance, with a 93.4% rate, in October 2009.

Alaska Airlines, of Alaska Air Group Incorporated, once again followed Hawaiian Airlines, at 85.8%. JetBlue Airways came third, with 82.9%.

Northwest Airlines (now a part of Delta Air Lines) posted the worst on-time performance in October 2009 – at 69.3%.

Atlantic Southeast Airlines, of SkyWest Incorporated, came second in worst on-time rate – at 71.6%.

The most frequently delayed trip was Southwest Airlines’ Flight 3545 from Phoenix to Sacramento – which was late 95.5% of the time.

In October 2009, the US-based aviation sector showed a mishandled baggage rate of 3.48 per 1,000 passengers – down from 3.55 per 1,000 passengers in October 2008, but up from 3.01 per 1,000 passengers in September 2009.

The rate of flight cancellations got worse in October 2009, with about 1% of scheduled domestic flights – or, 5,273 out of 532,000 total flights – getting cancelled. This was higher than the 0.6% cancellation rate in both October 2008 and September 2009.

Pinnacle Airlines, American Eagle Airlines, and Mesa Airlines reported the highest percentage of cancellations – and, in that order.

A total of 12 flights have had tarmac delays of 3 hours or more in October 2009 – up from 7 flights having tarmac delays in September 2009. Delta Air Lines accounted for 5 of the lengthy delays, which was more than any other US-based airline.

Weather has been mainly blamed for delays in October 2009 – about 41%.

The US Department of Transportation received 896 complaints in October 2009, compared with 629 complaints in October 2008, and 604 complaints in September 2009.

Regarding costs of aviation turbine fuel, the United States-based airlines’ average cost per gallon for scheduled flights dropped by 40% from October 2008, and by 1% from September 2009, to $1.98. The average fuel costs, on a sequential basis, were down by 3.5% for international service, and flat for domestic flights.

According to the US Department of Transportation, the total fuel consumption on scheduled flights was 2.62 billion gallons in October 2009 – down by 44% from October 2008, but up by 2.1% sequentially.