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U.S. airlines improve on-time arrival rate, baggage handling in November

January 7, 2010 | 12:25 pm

Airlines improve arrival time, baggage handling in November
The nation’s largest airlines recorded an on-time arrival rate of 88.6% in November, setting a new record for on-time performance for that month, the U.S. Department of Transportation said today.

During the same month, the airlines also set a record for the lowest rate of mishandled baggage in a single month since these data were first collected in September 1987.

The November on-time rate for the country’s 19 largest carriers was better than the 83.3% rate for November 2008 and the 77.3% rate for October 2009, according to the agency. The previous on-time high mark for carriers recorded since the data were first collected in January 1995 was 88% in September 2002.

The rate of mishandled baggage for the U.S. carriers was 2.78 reports per 1,000 passengers in November, an improvement over both the November 2008 rate of 3.75 reports and the October 2009 rate of 3.48 reports. The previous record low rate for mishandled baggage was 3.01 in September 2009.

The improved airline service can partly be attributed to an overall reduction in flights because of falling demand, a renewed effort among airline to meet on-time goals and mild weather in November, said David A. Castelveter, a spokesman for the Air Transport Assn., a trade group that represents the country’s largest airlines.

-- Hugo Martin

Photo: Thanksgiving travelers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Credit: Associated Press