Airlines' steady 2010 on-time performance

Airlines had practically the same on-time performance in 2010 as they did in 2009 -- just shy of 80 percent, a historically good record, according to reports issued today by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. PHL improved its ranking, even finishing in 12th place among the country's largest airports in December, but that was in part a function of other cities having worse-than-average performances. What a difference from the times when PHL usually finished at the bottom of the list.

Giving credit where it's due, PHL's good ranking for on-time flights last year is largely the result of US Airways' better performance at its second-largest hub (after CLT) -- better in doing everything an airline is supposed to do. US Airways said it gave employees another bonus, for finishing first among the five network carriers in fewest mishandled bags in December2010. US Airways also had the best bag-handling record among its peers for the full year. The airline's executives said long ago that the company's financial performance would be a function of operational improvements -- and the reported profit for 2010 is proof of that.

One more interesting note about the array of statistics BTS keeps: Tarmac delays of three hours or more have practically disappeared since last May, largely because of harsh penalties for violations now imposed. At the same time, the number of canceled flights doesn't appear to have increased signifiicantly, although making comparisons for December through February, at least, will be difficult because snow storms have caused such havoc this season.  

For details on on-time performance at all airports, including PHL, use this link. 

The monthly Air Travel Consumer Report from BTS's parent, DOT, with detail about how airlines at PHL did, as well as lost bags, bumping, consumer complaints and tarmac delays, go here.