Summer on-time arrivals improve slightly in 2008, airlines not satisfied

09/9/2008 | Wall Street Journal, The

On-time performance by U.S. airlines edged up 3% compared to last summer, due in part to cutbacks in service. Preliminary figures show 74% of flights arrived on time during the June-to-August time frame, compared to 71% during the same period last year. Even New York City's three chronically congested airports saw a 3% improvement in their on-time average, though none did better than 59%. On-time performance by U.S. airlines edged up 3% compared to last summer, due in part to cutbacks in service. Preliminary figures show 74% of flights arrived on time during the June-to-August time frame, compared to 71% during the same period last year. Even New York City's three chronically congested airports saw a 3% improvement in their on-time average, though none did better than 59%. However, airlines say the underlying problems of system delays have not been addressed. Of 77 recommendations by a special New York delay task force, for example, the FAA has completed fewer than 20. "There has not been nearly enough improvement," said an Air Transport Association spokesperson. "Government has just dragged its feet on implementing recommendations" to boost capacity and traffic flow in the New York area.

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