Airline performance rose slightly in August
Cancelations soared but mishandled baggage rates fell.
United States airlines’ on-time performance improved modestly month-on-month in August, with fewer reported delays, despite double the number of flight cancelations, according to the latest aviation statistics.
The US Department of Transportation released data from its Air Travel Consumer Report August 2017 this week.
Reporting carriers’ on-time arrival rate was 77.1% in August, a minor improvement on the previous month’s 76.9% on-time arrival rate but moderately lower than the 77.6% rate recorded 12 months earlier in August 2016.
In August, United States airlines canceled 2.2% of their scheduled domestic flights, twice as many as reported during July 2017 (1.1%) and a significantly higher rate compared to the same period last year (1.4%).
Mishandled baggage was lower in August (2.45 reports per 1,000 passengers) than both the previous month’s rate (2.79 reports per 1,000 passengers) and the year-on-year rate (3.15 reports per 1,000 passengers).
Just over one-fifth (22.92%) of flights were delayed in August, slightly less than in July (23.05%). Delays were mostly caused by late-arriving aircraft (8.07%) and aviation system delays (6.25%), while others were delayed by factors such as maintenance or crew issues (5.54%) and extreme weather (0.61%).
There were nine reported tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic services, compared to 16 tarmac delays in July 2017. In August, airlines also reported two tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to six such tarmac delays reported in July 2017.
Additionally, the US Department of Transport received 1,907 airline service complaints from consumers, down 0.4% from the 1,914 received in July, and 15.3% less than the total 2,251 filed a year earlier in August 2016.
Individual airline on-time performance rates
Hawaiian Airlines comfortably posted the highest arrival rates of any US airline (93.0%), followed by Delta Air Lines (87.4%) and Alaska Airlines (82.8%). At the opposite end of the scale, the airlines with the lowest arrival rates for August were Virgin America (66.6%), JetBlue Airways (68.1%) and Southwest Airlines (70.2%).
Delta Air Lines recorded the lowest rate of canceled flights during August (0.2%), followed closely by Hawaiian Airlines (0.3%) and Virgin America (0.6%). In contrast, regional airline ExpressJet suffered the highest proportion of flight cancellations (6.8%), followed by United Airlines (4.0%) and Spirit Airlines (3.4%).
As capacity ramps up across North America’s airports and airlines achieve record-setting passenger volumes, satisfaction levels have also reached new highs through the employment of interactive innovations and new technologies.