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Airlines Post Best On-Time Numbers Since ’03

Domestic airlines recorded some pretty nice on-time numbers in September, with 86.2 percent of flights arriving on time or within 14 minutes. That number is up from last September (84.9 percent) and even more so from this past August (79.7 percent). In fact, it was the second-best September and fourth-best month overall since 1995.

As usual, Hawaiian led the way with a 94.1 percent mark, but all major airlines finished in the 80-percent range. Delta was the lowest among them, at 82.2. percent.

So how did the airlines do it? Well, for starters, autumn weather is generally pretty good, as the summer’s thunderstorms die down and winter’s ice and snow lie in wait, which leads to fewer delays. In fact, four of the five best overall months since 1995 are either September or October.

But the biggest factor is still capacity reductions, which continue to reduce the number of planes in the air. Fewer planes, obviously, equals better punctuality.

Readers, if you’ve been flying lately, have your flights been on time? Do you think the airlines are doing better in this department?

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