Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fewer flights means fewer delays

US airlines' on-time arrival rate was the second best on record for the month of February as carriers cut flights by 14 percent, the Transportation Department said.
The 82.6 percent on-time rate for the month was second only to 2002's 84.7 percent, the department said in its monthly report. February 2008's on-time rate was 68.6 percent. The agency began keeping track of delays in the current format in 1995.

The recession has led to fewer planes in the sky, smoothing airline operations after delays climbed to the second highest on record in 2007. In February, delays that were due to a previous plane arriving late fell to 4.8 percent of flights from 9.7 percent a year prior.

US airline passenger revenue fell 19 percent in February from a year earlier, the fourth straight month of declines, the Air Transport Association said.

Newark's Liberty airport was the most congested in February, with 56.4 percent of flights arriving on time. San Francisco had the second-worst rate, at 61.4 percent, followed by New York's LaGuardia airport at 68 percent.

Hawaiian Airlines had the best February on-time rate, at 91.2 percent, followed by Southwest Airlines at 88.3 percent and Pinnacle Airlines at 86.8 percent.

Alaska Air Group had the lowest rate at 76.3 percent, followed by Delta Air Lines' Comair unit at 76.6 percent and Continental Airlines at 77.7 percent.