July 8, 2008

Delays Plague American Airlines Again

By Trebor Banstetter, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

Jul. 8--American Airlines once again had the worst problem with delays in June as on-time performance at the nation's major airlines slipped.

Overall, about 70 percent of flights were on time in June, according to FlightStats.com, which tracks airline delays, cancellations and on-time performance. That's down from 79 percent in May.

But only 58 percent of American's flights arrived within 15 minutes of schedule, putting it at the bottom of the list. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines had the best record, with 78 percent of flights on time.

"Unfortunately, the main reasons include weather and significant [air traffic control] delays at three of our main network operating areas" in Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago and Miami, American spokesman Tim Smith said.

Separately Monday, the Transportation Department said American ranked last in on-time service in May, with just over two-thirds of its flights -- 67.3 percent -- reaching their destinations on time.

The carrier has been struggling with weather all year. It also had issues in March and April with aircraft inspections that forced it to cancel thousands of flights. Through the first half of 2008, American has the worst record among the major carriers, according to FlightStats.

Some union leaders also contend that staff reductions have affected the airline's performance.

With American encountering so many delays, D/FW Airport also fared poorly in June, with about 31 percent of arrivals more than 15 minutes late. That put D/FW at No. 32 among the 40 largest airports.


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