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With flight volumes depressed, airlines continued to produce unusually strong on-time performances in August.
According to the DOT’s latest Air Travel Consumer Report, released on Nov. 13, 91% of the domestic flights operated or marketed by the 10 primary mainline U.S. carriers arrived on-time in August. That far exceeds August 2019, when 77.6% of domestic flights arrived on time.
The DOT defines a flight as on-time if it arrives within 15 minutes of schedule.
Carriers’ on-time figures for August followed similar results in June and July, when 92.7% and 90.5% of flights respectively were on time. The operating improvements have coincided with the sharp decline in the number of flights that airlines are operating during the Covid-19 pandemic. In August, U.S. airlines flew 398,470 scheduled domestic flights, compared with 717,456 a year earlier.
Reduced congestion in the skies and airports have been key factors in airlines’ improved operational performance, industry stakeholders say. In addition, less full planes have speeded the boarding and deplaning processes.
Southwest led U.S. carriers in August with a 93.9% on-time percentage on domestic flights. Allegiant brought up the rear at 83.6%.