WASHINGTON, D.C. — May marked the airline industry’s worst on-time performance since 2004. DOT statistics showed that only 78% of U.S. flights arrived on time in May and in the five months preceding operated just 74% of flights on time. It is the smallest percentage since the government began tracking their performance in 1995.
Behind the lackluster performance — understaffed airlines, a high volume of travelers, an overtaxed air traffic control system, and unusually bad weather. Although U.S. airlines slipped in year-over-year comparisons, their performance gradually improved as winter turned to spring, DOT numbers show.
US Airways placed last on the list in May of 20 airlines tracked by the DOT. The airline could have done better were it not for bad weather in the Northeast and Midwest, says Andrea Rader, a spokeswoman for the airline.
"We are seeing improvement," she says. "The trend is continuing up."
In the continental U.S., low-cost carrier AirTran (AAI) had the best on-time performance for May. Nearly 86% of the Orlando-based airline's flights were on time, meaning they arrived within 15 minutes of their scheduled time.
Source: USA TODAY