updated 9/11/2007 11:51:28 AM ET 2007-09-11T15:51:28

Delays at San Francisco International Airport surged to near-record levels over the summer, with flights held up at double the rate of four years ago, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday.

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About one-third of flights arriving at the airport in June and July were delayed — a 24 percent increase compared to the same period in 2006, the agency said, citing Bureau of Transportation Statistics figures.

"We've squeezed every available ounce of capacity out of the current air traffic control system," FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said in a statement. "The delay numbers show that the system is stretched too thin and is unable to accommodate all the aircraft that are using it."

The airline industry's on-time performance across the United States in the first seven months of 2007 was its worst since comparable data began being collected in 1995. Industry groups and government officials have blamed rising travel demand, bad weather and increased use of smaller planes for the problems.

Kandace Bender, a spokeswoman at San Francisco International, said many of the delays have been due to backups at other airports.

"I know we had a number of flight delays because of extremely bad weather on the East Coast," she said.

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