("US Airlines' On-Time, Baggage Performance Improves In March," published at 11:10 a.m. EDT, incorrectly said Delta Airlines had the most-delayed flight arrival. The corrected version follows.)
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
U.S. airlines' on-time performance improved in March, the Department of Transportation said Tuesday, and the rate of mishandled bags fell, though complaints rose.
The DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics said the 19 carriers reporting on-time arrivals had an overall rate of 80%, up from 78.4% a year earlier and 74.6% in February. A flight is counted as "on time" if it operated less than 15 minutes after the scheduled time shown in the carriers' computerized reservation system.
Hawaiian Holdings Inc.'s (HA) Hawaiian Airlines continued to have the best on-time percentage, coming in at 90.2% for March, followed by Alaska Air Group Inc.'s (ALK) Alaska Airlines. JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) had the worst on-time arrival rate at 72.1%, with ExpressJet Holdings Inc. (XJT) next at 75.1%.
The agency also said carriers canceled 1.5% of their scheduled flights, compared with 2.1% a year earlier and 5.5% in February.
A decline in travel because of the recession prompted airlines to cut capacity, which has made airports and the skies less crowded. That reduces flight delays and cancellations when bad weather or other problems occur.
The most frequently delayed arrival for March was Southwest Airlines Co.'s (LUV) flight 1142 from Baltimore to New York's LaGuardia Airport, which was late 100% of the time.
Meanwhile, the industry had a mishandled baggage rate of 3.72 per 1,000 passengers in March, down from 4.23 a year earlier and February's 4.01 rate. The DOT also received 961 overall complaints in March, compared with 708 and 769, respectively.
The drop in travel demand also led many carriers to impose new fees for checked luggage. As fewer travelers check bags, airlines are less exposed to the risk of mishandling them.
-By Matt Jarzemsky, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2240; email@example.com