The nation’s largest airlines had a rate of on-time flights this past April that was higher than the same month last year and the rate posted in March 2010, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The 18 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 85.3 percent in April, better than the 79.1 percent on-time rate of April 2009 and March 2010’s 80.0 percent.
Highlights of the DOT report
Cancellations: In April, the carriers canceled 0.7 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, a lower rate than the 1.5 percent cancellation rates posted in both April 2009 and March 2010.
Tarmac Delays: In April, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that .001 percent of their scheduled flights had tarmac delays of three hours or more, down from .005 percent in March. There was one flight with a tarmac delay of four hours or more in April.
Causes of Flight Delays: In April, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 4.45 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 6.03 percent in March; 4.71 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 6.44 percent in March; 4.30 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 5.24 percent in March; 0.33 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.54 percent in March; and 0.04 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.06 percent in March.
Weather is a factor in both the extreme-weather category and the aviation-system category, the DOT says. This includes delays due to the re-routing of flights by DOT’s Federal Aviation Administration in consultation with the carriers involved. Weather is also a factor in delays attributed to late-arriving aircraft, although airlines do not report specific causes in that category.
In April, 35.21 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, down 20.66 percent from April 2009, when 44.38 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, and down 13.45 percent from March when 40.68 percent of late flights were delayed by weather.
Mishandled Baggage: U.S. carriers reporting flight delays and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 2.89 reports per 1,000 passengers in April, an improvement over April 2009’s rate of 3.89 and March 2010’s 3.72 rate.