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On-time arrivals worse than last year, say stats

/ Source: The Associated Press

On-time flight arrivals by large U.S. airlines rose more than 2 percentage points in May from a month earlier, but were down compared with the year-ago period, according to government statistics released early this week.

The nation's 20 largest airlines recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 77.9 percent in May, down slightly from 78.3 percent in the same month last year, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics said.

April flights arrived on schedule 75.7 percent of the time, compared with 73.3 percent in March and February's 67.3 percent, which was the lowest on-time rate since December 1996.

Hawaiian Airlines had May's highest on-time arrival rate at 92.8 percent, while Aloha Airlines was second at 88.4 percent. AirTran Airways was third at 85.5 percent.

US Airways Group Inc.'s 67.9 percent on-time rate was the worst in May, followed by American Airlines at 71 percent and American Eagle Airlines at 73.4 percent.

The most frequently delayed trip was US Airways flight 1569 from Boston to Philadelphia, which was late nearly 95.7 percent of the time.

The carriers canceled 1.1 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in May, down from 1.2 percent last year. American Eagle Airlines and American Airlines had the highest cancellation rates at 2.2 percent. Hawaiian Airlines had the lowest rate at 0.2 percent, followed by JetBlue Airways Corp. and Continental Airlines Inc. at 0.3 percent.

May's mishandled baggage rate rose to 5.93 reports per 1,000 passengers from 4.94 reports per 1,000 passengers last year. American Eagle had the highest rate at 11.6 reports per 1,000 passengers.

The government received 929 complaints from consumers about all airline service in May, up nearly 50 percent from the 624 received in the same month last year. Flight timing and baggage issues comprised more than half the complaints.

Southwest dealt with the most passengers during the month, more than 8.9 million, but had the lowest rate of complaints at 0.19 per 100,000 travelers.