June 13, 2008

GSP is Tops in State for on-Time Flights

By Trevor Anderson, Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, S.C.

Jun. 12--The Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport was recognized Wednesday for providing the best on-time service among the state's big three airports.

AAA Carolinas, a not-for-profit organization that provides information for travelers in North and South Carolina, said GSP's on-time performance was approximately 75 percent, Columbia Metropolitan's was 74.4 percent and Charleston International scored a 74.3 percent.

"That feels pretty good," said Rosylin Weston, director of public relations for GSP. "We can't take total credit. The credit really goes to our airlines. All we can do is to make sure they have all the tools they need to operate smoothly."

GSP's top three airlines for providing the best on-time departure service were Delta (96 percent), Skywest (83 percent) and Atlantic Southeast (75 percent). It's least on-time airlines were Mesa (59 percent), American Eagle (71 percent) and Pinnacle (72 percent).

Rankings came from AAA Carolinas' analysis of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Air Travel Consumer Reports for the first quarter of 2008.

The BTS report also showed that GSP outperformed its largest metropolitan airport competitors in Atlanta and Charlotte for on-time departures.

"Air travelers this summer face higher fares, fewer flights, crowded planes and less service," said David E. Parsons, CEO and president of AAA Carolinas, in a statement. "In order to help travelers make a more informed choice, AAA Carolinas analyzed South Carolina airports and carriers using federally collected data."

Parsons said with soaring fuel prices and mercurial fare reactions, airlines are slashing operations, curtailing scheduled flights and eliminating services, like accepting a second piece of checked baggage for free.

Travelers can also expect to see higher ticket prices that are likely to continue increasing throughout the summer.

"With the high cost of fuel in today's economic climate, the airline industry has been undergoing upheavals in fare structure, in-cabin amenities and baggage service," Parson's said.

Passenger traffic at GSP dropped 8.19 percent in May to 127,844 customers, compared to the 139,253 customers that flew during the same month in 2007.


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