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August's Airline On-Time Performance Improves from July, But Down From Last Year

August's Airline On-Time Performance Improves from July, But Down From Last Year


DOT 145-05
Bill Mosley

Monday, October 3, 2005 - The on-time performance of the nation's largest airlines showed improvement in August compared to the previous month although they had a lower percentage of on-time flights than a year ago, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

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

Flight Delays

According to information filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration, the 20 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 75.2 percent in August, down from August 2004's 78.3 percent but better than July 2005's 70.9 percent.


The consumer report includes BTS data on the number of domestic flights canceled by the reporting carriers. In August, the carriers canceled 2.1 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, up from the 1.6 percent cancellation rate of August 2004 and but down from the 2.2 percent rate posted in July 2005.

Causes of Flight Delays

The carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 7.72 percent of their August flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 9.05 percent in July 2005; 7.05 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 8.82 percent in July; 6.42 percent by factors within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 7.11 percent in July; 1.15 percent by extreme weather, compared to 1.52 percent in July; and 0.07 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.06 percent in July. 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 overall flights delayed by weather, including those reported in either the category of extreme weather or included in National Aviation System delays. In August, 5.94 percent of flights were delayed by weather, down 0.17 percent from August 2004, when 5.95 percent of flights were delayed by weather, and down 25.84 percent from July when 8.01 percent of flights were delayed by weather.

Detailed information on flight delays and their causes is available on the BTS site on the World Wide Web at

Mishandled Baggage

The U.S. carriers reporting flight delay and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 6.31 reports per 1,000 passengers in August, higher than August 2004's 4.81 rate but down from July 2005's 7.11 mark.

Incidents Involving Pets

In August, carriers reported nine incidents involving pets while traveling by air, up from July's total of five. These included four reports of injuries, four reports of death and one loss of a pet. Carriers first began reporting pet incidents in May 2005.

Complaints About Airline Service

In August, the Department received 822 complaints from consumers about airline service, up 3.7 percent from the total of 793 received in August 2004 but down 4.1 percent from the 857 filed in July 2005.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in August against specific airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities. The Department received a total of 59 disability-related complaints in August, up 20.4 percent from the total of 49 filed in August 2004 and 47.5 percent more than the 40 complaints received in July 2005.

Complaints About Discrimination

In August, the Department received 12 complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin or sex – up from August 2004's total of 10 but fewer than the 16 received in July 2005.

Consumers may file their complaints in writing with the Aviation Consumer Protection Division, U.S. Department of Transportation, C-75, Room 4107, 400 7th St. SW, Washington, DC 20590; by e-mail at; by voice mail at (202) 366-2220 or by TTY at (202) 366-0511.

Consumers who want on-time performance data for specific flights should call their airline ticket offices or their travel agents. This information is available on the computerized reservation systems used by these agents.

The Air Travel Consumer Report can be found on DOT's World Wide Web site at It is available in "pdf" and Microsoft Word format.

Air Travel Consumer Report August 2005
Key On-Time Performance and Flight Cancellation Statistics

Based on Data Filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics by the 20 Reporting Carriers


75.2 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. Hawaiian Airlines – 97.4 percent

2. Frontier Airlines – 85.1 percent

3. ATA Airlines – 85.0 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. Atlantic Southeast Airlines – 59.6 percent

2. AirTran Airways – 64.1 percent

3. Northwest Airlines – 67.2 percent

Most Frequently Delayed Flights

1. Alaska Airlines flight 153 from Nome, AK to Anchorage, AK – late 96.77 percent of the time

2. AirTran Airways flight 315 from Charlotte, NC to Atlanta – late 96.55 percent of the time

3. Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight 4267 from Ashville, NC to Atlanta – late 95.65 percent of the time

4. American Airlines flight 473 from Atlanta to Dallas-Fort Worth – late 95.45 percent of the time

4. American Airlines flight 1111 from Atlanta to Dallas-Fort Worth – late 95.45 percent of the time

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

1. Atlantic Southeast Airlines – 8.0 percent

2. American Eagle Airlines – 3.1 percent

3. Delta Air Lines – 3.1 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

1. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.1 percent

2. Frontier Airlines – 0.2 percent

3. ATA Airlines – 0.3 percent