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U.S. Airline Delays at All-Time High

August 7, 2007

U.S. Airline Delays at All-Time High
Aug. 7, 2007 – Delays for United States airlines are at a 13-year high according to information filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The Air Travel Consumer Report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday showed that the industry’s on-time performance in the first six months of the year was its worst since the agency began gathering data in 1995. In June, 32 percent of domestic flights on major U.S. airlines were late. The report also shows that consumer complaints against air carriers rose in June compared to the same previous months.

Of the 20 carriers that report on-time performance, an overall on-time arrival rate of 68.1 percent in June was recorded. This is down from both June 2006’s 72.8 percent and May 2007’s 77.9 percent. The data also showed that these carriers canceled 2.7 percent of their domestic scheduled flights in June, up from both June 2006’s cancellation rate of 1.7 percent and May 2007’s 1.1 percent. The reporting carriers also posted a mishandled baggage rate of 7.92 reports per 1,000 passengers in June, higher than both June 2006’s 6.30 rate and May 2007’s 5.93 mark.

Among the causes for the flight delays were aviation system delays, late-arriving aircraft, factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, extreme weather, and security reasons. The growing demand for air travel, both on major airlines and on smaller regional carriers, also was blamed.

Regional carriers served 155.7 million passengers last year, up 38 percent from 2003 levels, according to the Regional Airline Association. Those carriers operated at nearly 74 percent of capacity on average last year, up from 66 percent four years ago.

For the Department of Transportation’s full report, visit

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