December & 2008 airline on-time report; Southwest and US Airways among best three

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported airline on-time performance for December and all of 2008 this morning and PHL's largest airlines came out at the head of the line. While the national average for on-time performance was still one-in--four flights arrived at least 15 minutes late, US Airways and Southwest did better than that last year. Perennial winner Hawaiian was first (better weather in the islands), at almost 90 percent on time, followed by Southwest and US Airways, the only two others above 80 percent. Find all the PHL airline numbers on page 9 of the DOT report.

UPDATE Today: Here's this morning's Inquirer story.

US Airways pointed out in a a news release that it had gone from "worst to first" (the title of a book about Continental's turnaround a few years ago) during 2008 among the "Big Six" hub-and-spoke airlines with similar operating systems.

In other measures of airline performance, Southwest and US Airways finished in 8th and 9th places respectively in mishandled baggage during 2008 (page 33, DOT report). In consumer complaints filed with DOT, Southwest was in 1st place with fewest, and US Airways in 19th, or last place, with the most (page 49, DOT report).

PHL, in a separate report from DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, improved its overall ranking of airline on-time arrivals and departures.