News Article - September 04, 2008

By Harry R. Weber

Associated Press

  ATLANTA - Philadelphia International Airport again improved its on-time performance in July, according to figures released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The figures also showed that the nation's airlines were on time more often than they were a year ago and that consumers filed fewer complaints about their luggage.

   In Philadelphia, flights arrived on time 72.7 percent of the time, compared with 63.4 percent in July last year, the DOT said. That moved Philadelphia to 22d place among the 32 largest U.S. airports from 26th last July. Flights within 15 minutes of the scheduled time are considered on time.

   For departures, Philadelphia was on time for 74.4 percent of the flights, up from 65.4 percent in July 2007. The airport advanced to 21st place in the ranking from 27th a year ago. The DOT said the 19 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 75.7 percent in July, higher than both the 69.8 percent in July 2007 and the 70.8 percent in June 2008.

   The agency also said the nation's carriers canceled 1.7 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in July, lower than both the 2.1 percent cancellation rate of July 2007 and the 1.8 percent rate posted in June of this year. Comair Inc., a regional subsidiary of Delta Air Lines Inc., had the worst on-time arrival rate, 63.31 percent. JetBlue Airways Corp. was next at 64.6 percent. UAL Corp.'s United Airlines was third-worst at 68.25 percent, and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, which had the worst on-time performance in June, was fourth from the bottom in July, at 69.51 percent. US Airways, the dominant carrier serving Philadelphia, was in eighth place with 78.3 percent on-time arrivals in July.

   Regional carrier Pinnacle Airlines Corp. had the best on-time rate in July, compared with a year ago, at 85.6 percent, according to the government's data. Comair spokesman Jeff Pugh said in a statement that the airline had been steadily improving its performance over the years, though it continues to struggle with regional operational issues in the Northeast. "Our focus continues to be on improving and controlling what we can," he said.

   The airlines got better in handling baggage. Overall, the airlines posted a mishandled-baggage rate of 4.86 reports per 1,000 passengers in July, an improvement over both the July 2007 rate of 7.96 and the June 2008 rate of 5.15.

Source - AP