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Airlines On-Time Performance in July Better Than June But Slips From Previous Year

Airlines On-Time Performance in July Better Than June But Slips From Previous Year


DOT 92-07
Bill Mosley

Tuesday, September 4, 2007 - The nation's largest airlines recorded a rate of on-time flights this past July that was higher than in June but down from the rate posted in July 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 69.8 percent in July, down from July 2006's 73.7 record but an improvement over June 2007's 68.1 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 July, the carriers canceled 2.1 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, up from the 1.7 percent cancellation rate posted in July 2006 but down from the 2.7 percent rate recorded in June 2007.

Causes of Flight Delays

The carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 8.45 percent of their July flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 9.13 percent in June 2007; 9.87 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 10.04 percent in June; 8.05 percent by factors within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 8.13 percent in June; 1.31 percent by extreme weather, compared to 1.42 in June; and 0.10 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.09 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 shows the percentage of late flights delayed by weather, including those reported in either the category of extreme weather or included in National Aviation System delays. In July, 43.16 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, up 10.98 percent from July 2006, when 38.89 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, and down 4.02 percent from June when 44.97 percent of late 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 7.93 reports per 1,000 passengers in July, higher than both July 2006's 6.51 rate and June 2007's 7.92 mark.

Incidents Involving Pets

In July, carriers reported six incidents involving pets while traveling by air, up from four incidents in June. The July incidents involved three deaths, one injury and two lost pets.

Complaints About Airline Service

In July, the Department received 1,717 complaints from consumers about airline service, more than double the 831 complaints received in July 2006 and 56.9 percent more than the total of 1,094 filed in June 2007.

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 45 disability-related complaints in July, 2.2 percent fewer than the 46 received in July 2006 and unchanged from the total of 45 filed in June 2007.

Complaints About Discrimination

In July, the Department received 15 complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin or sex – more than both the seven complaints filed in July 2006 and the total of six received in June 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 July 2007
Key On-Time Performance and Flight Cancellation Statistics

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


69.8 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. Hawaiian Airlines – 94.7 percent

2. Aloha Airlines – 91.5 percent

3. Pinnacle Airlines – 78.9 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. Atlantic Southeast Airlines – 54.2 percent

2. Comair – 62.4 percent

3. American Airlines – 63.4 percent

Most Frequently Delayed Flights

1. Delta Air Lines flight 1667 from New York JFK to Orlando, FL – late 96.77 percent of the time

2. SkyWest Airlines flight 4020 from Salt Lake City, UT to Memphis, TN – late 96.55 percent of the time

3. SkyWest Airlines flight 2094 from Birmingham, AL to Atlanta – late 96.00 percent of the time

4. Delta Air Lines flight 687 from Boston to Atlanta – late 95.83 percent of the time

5. Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight 4410 from White Plains, NY to Atlanta – late 95.65percent of the time

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

1. Comair – 5.4 percent

2. American Eagle Airlines – 4.4 percent

3. Atlantic Southeast Airlines – 4.2 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

1. Frontier Airlines – 0.1 percent

2. Southwest Airlines – 0.4 percent

3. Aloha Airlines – 0.4 percent