DOT Reports Airlines Set Several Service Records for 2012 First Half
By James Shillinglaw
August 09, 2012 10:21 PM
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) reported that major U.S. airlines set record marks during the first half of this year for on-time performance, the fewest long tarmac delays, and the lowest rates of canceled flights and mishandled baggage.
According to the DOT’s Air Travel Consumer Report, the 15 largest U.S. airlines posted an 83.7 percent on-time arrival rate during the first six months of 2012, the highest mark for any January-June period in the 18 years the department has collected comparable data. The previous high was 82.8 percent in January-June 2003. The 1.1 percent cancellation rate for the six-month period also was the lowest rate for the past 18 years, with the previous low being the 1.3 percent mark set in January-June 2002.
"Our member airlines are delivering levels of customer service that no other industry, given its complexity, matches and are working to make air travel even more efficient for passengers and shippers," said Airlines for America President and CEO Nicholas Calio. "Thanks to ongoing operational improvements throughout the system, airlines are delivering a strong on-time performance."
There also were only four tarmac delays longer than three hours on U.S. domestic flights between January and June this year. This follows the DOT’s tarmac rule, which took effect in April 2010, setting a three-hour limit for aircraft carrying passengers on domestic flights to sit on the tarmac.
There were a total of 35 tarmac delays for domestic flights between January and June in 2011, the first full year the domestic tarmac delay limit was in effect. In contrast, there were 586 tarmac delays of more than three hours between January and June of 2009, the year before the tarmac delay rule went into effect. Since August 2011, U.S. and foreign airlines operating international flights at U.S. airports have been subject to a four-hour tarmac delay limit.
The reporting carriers also posted their lowest rate of mishandled baggage for a January-June period since this data was first reported in September 1987. The record of 2.97 reports of mishandled baggage per 1,000 passengers improved on the previous January-June record low of 3.60 set last year.
According to the DOT, the airlines with the highest on-time arrival rates were Hawaiian Airlines (93.9 percent), Alaska Airlines (88.4 percent) and Mesa Airlines (87 percent). Airlines with the lowest on-time arrival rates were United Airlines (70.1 percent), Frontier Airlines (74.3 percent) and ExpressJet Airlines (76.3 percent).
Airlines with the highest rates of canceled flights were American Eagle Airlines (2 percent), ExpressJet Airlines (1.6 percent) and United Airlines (1.6 percent). Airlines with the lowest rates of canceled flights were Virgin America (0.1 percent), Hawaiian Airlines (0.1 percent) and Frontier Airlines (0.2 percent).