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Airline On-Time Performance Improved in July

More Flights On Time, Fewer Long Delays, Government Says

The nation's largest airlines had a rate of on-time flights this past July that was higher than both the same month last year and the mark posted in June 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 77.6 percent in July, better than both the 75.7 percent on-time rate of July 2008 and June 2009's 76.1 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.  This report also includes 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 July, the carriers canceled 1.2 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, lower than both the 1.7 percent cancellation rate of July 2008 and the 1.5 percent rate posted in June 2009.

We've reported a lot of news about long tarmac delays. In July, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that .028 percent of their scheduled flights had tarmac delays of three hours or more, down from .0499 percent in June.  There were 29 flights with tarmac delays of four hours or more in July.  The carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 6.89 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 7.69 percent in June; 7.33 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 7.54 percent in June; 5.93 percent by factors within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 5.94 percent in June; 0.74 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.83 percent in June; and 0.04 percent for security reasons, the same percentage as June.  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 shows 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 July, 39.42 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, down 11.16 percent from July 2008, when 44.37 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, and down 9.34 percent from June when 43.48 percent of late flights were delayed by weather.

FMI: www.bts.gov

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