WASHINGTON » Hawaiian Airlines, typically among the most punctual, tumbled to 11th among the 13 airlines tracked in the latest on-time ratings.
Other leading airlines sharply improved their ratings.
The U.S. Transportation Department said Thursday that 86.5 percent of flights on the leading carriers arrived on time in September.
That was the fourth-best month in the 21 years of comparable records, and it was higher than the 80.3 percent on-time rating in August and 81.1 percent in September 2014.
Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines had the best ratings; all were better than 87 percent. Hawaiian Airlines flights were on time 84.2 percent of the time.
Hawaiian said in a news release, "Ongoing congestion due to airport construction and increased passenger traffic combined with several operational stoppages due to lightning strikes at airports throughout the state placed the airline 11th among U.S. carriers for punctuality."
"This has been a disappointing month for us, which does not reflect how hard our employees work to maintain our industry-leading punctuality. Our preliminary numbers for October are looking much better and should serve as a solid foundation for our resurgence back to the top spot," Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO, said in the release.
Spirit Airlines, at 76.7 percent, and JetBlue Airways, at 80 percent, had the worst marks. Smaller carriers including Allegiant Air and many regional airlines are not included in the numbers.
Consumer complaints to the government were rare but increased 70 percent from a year earlier. There were 1,351 complaints against U.S. airlines — a tiny fraction of the 55.8 million passengers who boarded one of the leading 13 carriers during the month.
ExpressJet, Alaska and Southwest had the lowest complaint rates, while budget airlines Spirit and Frontier continued to have the highest rates. Spirit passengers were 29 times more likely to complain than those on ExpressJet.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser staff contributed to this report.
BE PUNCTUAL, PLEASE
Here are the government’s rankings of the leading airlines and their on-time performance for September. The federal government counts a flight as on time if it arrives within 14 minutes of schedule.
1. Delta Air Lines 90.5 percent
2. Alaska Airlines 88.7 percent
3. Southwest Airlines 87.8 percent
4. Virgin America 86.4 percent
5. United Airlines 86.2 percent
6. ExpressJet 85.8 percent
7. Frontier Airlines 85.8 percent
8. American, US Airways 85.6 percent
9. SkyWest Airlines 85.3 percent
10. Envoy Air 84.7 percent
11. Hawaiian Airlines 84.2 percent
12. JetBlue Airways 80.0 percent
13. Spirit Airlines 76.7 percent
Total for all reporting airlines 86.5 percent
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation
American Airlines and US Airways were previously reported separately. Envoy Air is owned by American Airlines Group Inc. The report does not cover smaller airlines including Allegiant Air and many regional carriers.