US airlines getting more punctual

16 May, 2008: Airlines in the United States improved their operations in March 2008 compared to the poor performance reported a month earlier.

According to the monthly Air Travel Consumer Report of the United States Department of Transportation, the 19 domestic carriers reported that 71.6% of their flights arrived on time in March 2008 compared to 68.6% in February 2008.

The on-time arrival rate in February 2008 was the seventh worst month for airline performance since the Department of Transportation began using its current methodology in 1995, the website has reported.

The latest report by the Department of Transportation also stresses the airline industry’s sluggish performance in 2008, compared to a year ago. In March 2007, 73% of flights arrived on time.

Flights are considered on time if they arrive within 15 minutes of scheduled time.

In March 2008, cancellation of flights was lower compared to February 2008: Airlines in the United States cancelled 2.6% of their scheduled domestic flights in March – down from February’s 3.6% but unchanged from March 2007.

In the monthly Air Travel Consumer Report of the Department of Transportation, the airlines blame delays and cancellations on a number of factors, including weather, maintenance and crew problems, besides the United States’ aging aviation system.

In the Department of Transportation report, airlines in the United States give an account of a mishandled baggage rate of 6.7 reports per 1,000 passengers in March 2008 – which is worse than 6.4 of February 2008, but better than 7.7 a year ago.

Involuntary denied boarding, or bumping – which is measured quarterly – dropped slightly in the first three months of 2008 – that is, 1.36 bumped passengers per 10,000 as against 1.46 in the January-March period of 2007.

The US Department of Transportation received 1,013 complaints about airline service in March 2008 – down by 22.5% from March 2007, but slightly up from February 2007.

Other facts that appear in the monthly Air Travel Consumer Report of the US Department of Transportation are:

* US Airways had the best ‘on-time’ rate among large carriers, with 79.1%. American Airlines was the worst, with 62%.
* American Airlines flight 791 from New York LaGuardia to Dallas-Fort Worth – which is late more than 92% of the time – was the most frequently delayed flight.
* American Airlines, based in Fort Worth, also had the highest rate of cancellations among large carriers. Dealing with the grounding of hundreds of flights for MD-80 aircraft inspections in March as well as several days of stormy weather, American Airlines canceled 5.6% of its flights.
* Frontier Airlines and Alaska Airlines had the lowest cancellation rates.








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