You are here

Airlines On-Time Performance in April Better Than March But Slips From Previous Year

Airlines On-Time Performance in April Better Than March But Slips From Previous Year


DOT 55-07
Bill Mosley

Monday, June 4, 2007 - The nation's largest airlines recorded a rate of on-time flights this past April that was higher than in March but down from the rate posted in April 2006, 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 75.7 percent in April, down from April 2006's 78.4 but an improvement over March 2007's 73.3 percent.

The monthly report also includes data on flight cancellations and causes of flight delays, as well as information on 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 April, the carriers canceled 1.8 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, up from the 1.1 percent cancellation rate of April 2006 but down from March 2007's 2.6 percent.

Causes of Flight Delays

The carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 7.72 percent of their April flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 7.62 percent in March 2007; 7.44 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 8.09 percent in March; 6.37 percent by factors within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 7.32 percent in March; 0.70 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.80 in March; and 0.06 percent for security reasons, the same percentage recorded in March. 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.

BTS also calculates the percentage of late flights delayed by weather by adding the number of extreme weather delays reported by the air carriers, the number of National Aviation System delays assigned to weather by the FAA, and a portion of late-arriving aircraft delays allocated to weather by BTS based on minutes of delay.  In April, 41.72 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, up 5.75 percent from April 2006, when 39.45 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, and up 10.28 percent from March when 37.83 percent of flights were delayed by weather. Because of a change in the BTS calculations, the March numbers are revised from the May press release when 41.94 percent of late flights were calculated to be 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 6.32 reports per 1,000 passengers in April, higher than April 2006's 5.27 rate but below March 2007's 7.71 mark.

Incidents Involving Pets

In April, carriers reported four incidents involving pets while traveling by air, the same number of incidents as in March. The April incidents involved two deaths, one injury and one lost pet.

Complaints About Airline Service

In April, the Department received 1,246 complaints from consumers about airline service, up 76.7 percent from the 705 complaints received in April 2006 but 4.9 percent fewer than the 1,310 filed in March 2007.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in April against specific airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities. The Department received a total of 41 disability-related complaints in April, 13.9 percent more than the 36 received in April 2006 and 10.8 percent more than the 37 filed in March 2007.

Complaints About Discrimination

In April, the Department received 13 complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin or sex – up from the eight complaints filed in both April 2006 and March 2007.

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 April 2007
Key On-Time Performance and Flight Cancellation Statistics

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


75.7 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. Aloha Airlines – 95.4 percent

2. Hawaiian Airlines – 95.1 percent

3. Pinnacle Airlines – 84.2 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. US Airways – 63.1 percent

2. JetBlue Airways – 64.8 percent

3. Comair – 67.9 percent

Most Frequently Delayed Flights

1. US Airways flight 1543 from Boston to Charlotte, NC – late 100 percent of the time

2. Comair flight 5463 from New York JFK to Buffalo, NY – late 96.67 percent of the time

3. SkyWest Airlines flight 2570 from Columbus, OH to Milwaukee – late 96.15 percent of the time

4. US Airways flight 1582 from Charlotte, NC to Newark, NJ – late 95.83 percent of the time

5. Comair flight 5625 from New York JFK to Jacksonville, FL – late 93.75 percent of the time

5. US Airways flight 656 from Washington Reagan National to Phoenix – late 93.75 percent of the time

5. US Airways flight 619 from Atlanta to Las Vegas – late 93.75 percent of the time

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

1. American Eagle Airlines – 3.7 percent

2. Mesa Airlines – 3.2 percent

3. American Airlines – 3.1 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

1. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.2 percent

2. Frontier Airlines – 0.4 percent

3. Aloha Airlines – 0.4 percent