06 January 2009

Despite fewer flights - longer US delays

Scott McCarthy in the Wall Street Journal has some bad news for the US Air Traveler. Despite a massive reduction in flights particularly at the last 4 months of the year - delays worsened for the whole year.


So while the US airlines were trumpeting their on time performance - it seems that actually their performance worsened during 2009. This does not bode well for the next time we have upturn in travel. It does however bode well for FAA's attempts to control slots at constrained airports like LGA and JFK. Interestingly my colleagues over at www.airportbutler.com have some sample data on this and should definitely be looked at as a resource for this.

The only silver lining was a slight improvement in the improvement of "on time" but the delays were longer. Last year, 75.4% of U.S. passenger airline flights arrived on-time, according to FlightStats, up from 73.5% in 2007. While improved over 2007, 2008 still was worse than airlines performed in 2006 or 2005 said McCarthy.

Of course he doesn't know that the airlines -insidiously - were leaving early to make their ontime performance look good. I could use a descriptive term for this behavior but I am far too polite for that.

Beware... Obama can use this information to fund some improvements in the ATC. But will they do this wisely?


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