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Airlines boost on-time percentage, cancel fewer flights

The Associated Press

The government says more flights are arriving on time, airlines are canceling fewer flights, but passengers’ complaints are still rising.

The Department of Transportation said Wednesday that 83.6 percent of flights on the leading airlines arrived on time in February. That’s up from 81.3 percent in January and 72.8 percent the previous February.

Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines were most likely to be on time. Southwest had the best on-time mark among the biggest four carriers, followed by Delta, United and American.

Spirit Airlines and JetBlue Airways were late most often, with more than 30 percent of their flights running behind schedule.

The federal government counts a flight as on time if it arrives within 14 minutes of schedule.

The leading 12 airlines canceled 1.6 percent of their February flights, down from 2.6 percent in January and 4.8 percent last February, the government reported.

Spirit had the highest cancellation rate, 3.9 percent. Hawaiian, which operates mostly in fair-weather locations, canceled only three flights all month.

Complaints against U.S. airlines, however, ticked up to 1,113 from 1,039 a year earlier. That’s still a tiny fraction of the more than 50 million passengers who flew during February. Many more people complain directly to the airlines without going through the government.

On-time rankings

Here are the government’s rankings of the leading airlines and their on-time performance for February. The federal government counts a flight as on time if it arrives within 14 minutes of schedule. (The report does not cover smaller airlines including Allegiant Air and some regional carriers.)

1. Hawaiian Airlines … 91.9%

2. Alaska Airlines … 89.3%

3. Southwest Airlines … 87.8%

4. Frontier Airlines … 87.3%

5. Delta Air Lines … 86.4%

6. United Airlines … 86.2%

7. Virgin America … 84.6%

8. American Airlines … 83.0%

9. SkyWest … 81.9%

10. ExpressJet … 78.5%

11. JetBlue Airways … 68.9%

12. Spirit Airlines … 63.2%

All reporting airlines … 83.6%

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation