Last updated: 03:51 PM ET, Wed August 12 2015

Spirit Batting Only .500 For June On-Time Arrivals

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | August 12, 2015

Spirit Batting Only .500 For June On-Time Arrivals

Spirit Airlines had a bad month of June. There’s no way around it.

The budget carrier was the most complained about airline according to Department of Transportation records for that month, but maybe it goes hand-in-hand with another startling fact – only half of Spirit’s flights for the entire 30-day period arrived on time or within 14 minutes of schedule.

That’s right, only 49.9 percent of Spirit’s flights were considered on time, a woeful average that was well off the cumulative average of 74.8 percent from the nation’s 14 major domestic airlines.

Overall, the DOT reported a 3 percent increase in the total number of flights arriving as scheduled in June.

Subsequently, Spirit was also the most complained-about airline from passengers in June with 19.16 complaints for every 100,000 passengers. By comparison, the next worst airline with passenger complaints was Frontier with 6.52 for every 100,000 customers.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza told investors during July’s earnings call “consecutive storm systems in Dallas, Chicago, New York and Detroit followed by Tropical Storm Bill that sat over Houston and then moved north to Dallas” hurt the carrier.

“Due to the sheer volume of flights affected, we were unable to flex up our staffing levels enough to mitigate the impact of crews being displaced or being unable to work due to reaching their contractual or regulatory maximum,” he said. “These challenges lengthened the span of the irregular operation and the time it took to restore our system to normal. In our high aircraft utilization, low-daily flight frequency, point-to-point network, severe irregular operations typically create a unique set of challenges. However, we believe the unusual number and location of storms in June exacerbated the operational difficulty and made this event unlike others. We estimate the impact of the cancellations, delays and other non-recurring expenses during the quarter negatively impacted operating income by $20 million.”


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