Transport Airlines

U.S. airline on-time arrivals numbers drop in December thanks to weather and holiday crush

Jan 08, 2013 9:33 am

Skift Take

Delta tops the list for best performers to round out the year while American Airlines continues its poor run in last place between the five largest carriers.

— Jason Clampet

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Winter storms and the crush of passengers during the Christmas/New Year’s holidays dropped the average on-time arrival percentage to 72.6 percent for North American airlines in December, down 9.08 percentage points from November’s 81.68 percent, officials said.

Flight cancellations rose sharply in December, to 15,767 canceled flights from 9,834 in November, said FlightStats Inc., the Portland, Ore., real-time flight tracking service.

Among the major airlines, Delta Air Lines posted a December on-time arrival percentage of 84.59 percent in December, ranking it first, followed by US Airways, 82.94 percent, and Alaska Airlines, 82.94 percent.

American Airlines reported an on-time arrival percentage of 75.73 percent in December, ranking fifth for the month among the major airlines and continuing the Fort Worth carrier’s improvement from September when not even six of 10 flights arrived on time, officials said.

American is a major operator at Tulsa International Airport and employs 6,000 people at its Tulsa maintenance base at Tulsa International Airport.

In November, 78.86 percent of American’s flights arrived on time, ranking it seventh among the majors.

In October, 68.23 percent of American’s flights arrived on time, ranking it last among the majors, FlightStats said, while 59.08 percent of the airline’s flights arrived on time in September during a dispute between management and the Airline Pilots Association.

Among North American airports, the average on-time departure performance in December was 76.03 percent, down 8.09 percentage points from November’s 84.12 percent.

Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in North Carolina ranked first among large North American airports in December with an on-time departure percentage of 85.10 percent, followed by Salt Lake City International Airport, 83.71 percent; Mexico City Benito Juarez International Airport, 83.52 percent; Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, 83.45 percent; and Portland (Oregon) International Airport, 82.39 percent.

Charlotte/Douglas International Airport ranked second, with 85.1 percent, among the world’s busiest airports, followed by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia, 81.41 percent; Orlando International Airport in Florida, 80.08 percent; and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona, 79.88 percent.

(c)2013 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.). Distributed by MCT Information Services. 

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