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Airlines On-Time Performance Improves in July

Airlines On-Time Performance Improves in July


DOT 92-06
Bill Mosley

Thursday, September 7, 2006 - The nation's largest airlines recorded a higher rate of on-time flights this past July than in either the previous month or July of last year, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

According to information filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), the 20 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 73.7 percent in July, an improvement over both July 2005's 70.9 percent and June 2006's 72.8 percent.

The monthly report also includes data on the causes of flight delays, as well as information on flight cancellations, 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 required to be filed by U.S. carriers of incidents involving pets traveling by air.


The consumer report includes BTS data on the number of domestic flights canceled by the reporting carriers. In July, the carriers canceled 1.7 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, the same rate recorded in June 2006 and down from the 2.2 percent cancellation rate recorded in July 2005.

Causes of Flight Delays

The carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 7.16 percent of their July flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 7.67 percent in June 2006; 8.37 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 8.67 percent in June; 7.53 percent by factors within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew problems, the same percentage recorded in June; 1.15 percent by extreme weather, compared to 1.26 in June; and 0.05 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.06 percent in 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 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 July, 42.04 percent of flights were delayed by weather, down 22.28 percent from July 2005, when 54.09 percent of flights were delayed by weather, and down 6.93 percent from June when 45.17 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 6.50 reports per 1,000 passengers in July, down from July 2005's 7.22 rate but higher than June 2006's 6.28 mark.

Incidents Involving Pets

In July, carriers reported six incidents involving pets while traveling by air, the same number reported in June. The July incidents involved four pet deaths and two injuries.

Complaints About Airline Service

In July, the Department received 833 complaints from consumers about airline service, down 3 percent from the 859 complaints received in July 2005 but 9.9 percent more than the 758 filed in June 2006.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in July against specific airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities. The Department received a total of 46 disability-related complaints in July, up 15 percent from the 40 complaints received in July 2005 and identical to the total of 46 filed in June 2006.

Complaints About Discrimination

In July, the Department received seven complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin or sex – down from the 16 complaints received in both July 2005 and June 2006.

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 July 2006
Key On-Time Performance and Flight Cancellation Statistics

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


73.7 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. Hawaiian Airlines – 95.8 percent

2. Aloha Airlines – 92.0 percent

3. Frontier Airlines – 80.8 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. Atlantic Southeast Airlines – 57.3 percent

2. Mesa Airlines – 66.7 percent

3. ATA Airlines – 67.4 percent

Most Frequently Delayed Flights

1. Comair flight 5073 from New York JFK to Atlanta – late 100.00 percent of the time

1. Delta Air Lines flight 929 from New York JFK to San Juan, PR – late 100.00 percent of the time

1. Comair flight 5285 from San Antonio, TX to Atlanta – late 100.00 percent of the time

4. Comair flight 5285 from Atlanta to Raleigh/Durham, NC – late 96.77 percent of the time

5.Comair flight 5062 from Atlanta to Charleston, WV– late 96.00 percent of the time

5. Comair flight 5189 from Lexington, KY to Atlanta – late 96.00 percent of the time

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

1. Mesa Airlines – 4.0 percent

2. American Eagle Airlines – 3.9 percent

3. Comair – 3.1 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

1. Frontier Airlines – 0.1 percent

2. Hawaiian Airlines– 0.2 percent

3. JetBlue Airways – 0.3 percent