Quarter of all US airline flights late: government


WASHINGTON – One-quarter of all flights by U.S. airlines were late in the first half of 2008, with the industry recording its second-worst on-time performance rate in 14 years despite carrying 6 million fewer passengers, the government said on Tuesday.

The on-time rating of 73.3 percent was slightly better than last year’s first half, but carriers are operating fewer flights because of record high fuel prices and bankruptcies at some small airlines.

Airlines flew 3.6 million flights carrying 303 million passengers in the January-June period, compared with 3.7 million flights and 309 million passengers a year earlier, Transportation Department figures showed.

New York’s LaGuardia Airport had the worst on-time arrival performance of the 32 busiest airports, while Chicago’s O’Hare was last for timely departures. Both airports are notoriously congested and often rank at or near the bottom in performance categories.