Time

U.S. airlines improve January on-time performance, reduce cancellations

Flights were more likely to be on time and less likely to be cancelled in January than they were a year earlier, when winter storms wrecked airline schedules.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Monday that 76.8 per cent of flights were on time in January, up from 67.7 per cent in January 2014. About 2.5 per cent of flights were cancelled, down from 6.5 per cent a year earlier.

Delta Air Lines topped the on-time rankings at 86.1 per cent. Envoy Air, which operates many American Eagle flights for American Airlines, finished last, at 60.4 per cent. Envoy also had the highest rate of mishandled bags.

Low-fare Spirit Airlines was included in the rankings for the first time. Spirit finished 11th out of 14 listed airlines at on-time arrivals and was next to last in rate of complaints, with only Frontier Airlines doing worse. But Spirit ranked third-best at handling bags.

The Department of Transportation said that five domestic flights were held on the ground for more than three hours, in apparent violation of federal rules. Two were Southwest Airlines planes and one each by US Airways, Alaska Airlines and ExpressJet. The department said it was investigating the delays.