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Airline On-Time Performance

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Flights operated by the nation’s largest airlines arrived on time at a higher rate this past October than in either October of last year or in September 2008, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report released Wednesday by the US Department of Transportation.

According to information filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the 19 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 86.0 percent in October, higher than both October 2007’s 78.2 percent and September 2008’s 84.9 percent.

As ANN reported, the monthly report also included, for the first time, data on lengthy tarmac delays by the reporting carriers, as well as data on flight cancellations and strandings. In October the reporting carriers canceled 0.6 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, a lower rate than both the 1.2 percent cancellation rate of September 2007 and the 1.8 percent rate posted in September 2008.

In the same period, carriers filing on-time performance data reported 0.0001 percent of their scheduled flights had tarmac delays of three hours or more, with most delays the result of system delays, late arriving aircraft, and maintenance and weather issues.

Pinnacle Airlines may brag for having the best on-time arrival rate in October, at 90.7 percent. Northwest was a close second with 90 percent on-time arrivals, followed by Hawaiian Airlines at 89.9 percent.

Among the worst performing carriers in this regard was Atlantic Southeast Airlines, with an 80.3 percent on-time rate. Mesa Airlines was barely better, at 80.5 percent, while Continental Airlines turned in a dismal 81.4 percent on-time record.

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