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Wed, Dec 09, 2009

Rate of Flight Delays Increases In October

System Issues, Late-Arriving Aircraft, Weather All Factors In Delays

Flights operated by the nation's largest airlines arrived on time at a lower rate this past October than in either October of last year or in September 2009, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report released Tuesday by the U.S. DOT.
 
According to information filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), the 19 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 77.3 percent in October, a lower rate than both October 2008's 86.0 percent and September 2009's 86.2 percent. 

The monthly report also includes data on lengthy tarmac delays, flight cancellations and the causes of flight delays by the reporting carriers, as well as reports of mishandled baggage filed with the carriers, and consumer service, disability and discrimination complaints received by DOT's Aviation Consumer Protection Division, as well as reports of incidents involving pets traveling by air, as required to be filed by U.S. carriers.

The consumer report includes BTS data on the number of domestic flights canceled by the reporting carriers.  In October, the carriers canceled 1.0 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, higher than the 0.6 percent cancellation rate posted in both October 2008 and September 2009.

The carriers filing on-time performance data reported that .002 percent of their scheduled flights had tarmac delays of three hours or more in October, up from .001 percent in September.  There were no flights with tarmac delay of four hours or more in October. 

Breaking down the delay statistics a little further, carriers reported that in October, 8.52 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 4.92 percent in September; 7.20 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 3.88 percent in September; 5.26 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 3.89 percent in September; 0.52 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.37 percent in September; and 0.03 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.02 percent in September. 

Weather is a factor in both the extreme-weather category and the aviation-system category. This includes delays due to the re-routing of flights by DOT’s Federal Aviation Administration in consultation with the carriers involved.  Weather is also a factor in delays attributed to late-arriving aircraft, although airlines do not report specific causes in that category.

Data collected by BTS also show the percentage of late flights delayed by weather, including those reported in either the category of extreme weather or included in National Aviation System delays. In October, 41.14 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, up 19.28 percent from October 2008, when 34.49 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, and up 18.94 percent from September when 34.59 percent of late flights were delayed by weather.

FMI: www.dot.gov

 


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