Airlines boost on-time performance from last year

U.S. airlines posted a better on-time rate for May, and complaints dropped compared with the same month last year.

The Department of Transportation said Thursday that 83.4 per cent of domestic flights arrived on time in May, up from 80.5 per cent a year earlier although down from April.

Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines had the best on-time ratings, with each posting a mark of at least 90 per cent. Spirit Airlines had the worst on-time record, followed by Virgin America — both were under 77 per cent.

The government counts a flight as late if it arrives at least 15 minutes behind schedule. The figures cover flights on the 12 largest airlines.

Those airlines cancelled 0.5 per cent of their domestic flights in May. That was the third-lowest rate on record and was better than the 1.1 per cent cancellation rate in May 2015 and 0.9 per cent in April 2016.

Spirit had the highest cancellation rate, about one in every 70 flights.

Complaints fell 24 per cent from May 2015, although they increased over April. Air travellers filed 1,134 complaints with the government in May.

The department said it was investigating nine incidents in which airlines reported ground delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and four delays longer than four hours on international flights. The lengthy delays could lead to fines.