Airlines for America® (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines says the 2013 Airline Quality Rating report by researchers at Wichita State University and Purdue University misses some key points.
We agree with the report’s findings on improved airline operations. The nation’s carriers achieved the best year for on-time arrivals since 2003, a record-high success rate of 99.97 percent for baggage handling, the lowest cancellation rate since 2002 and reduced tarmac delays. According to data from the Department of Transportation, U.S. airlines had the best year ever for baggage performance with 997 of every 1,000 passengers having their bags properly handled. In addition, 81.85 percent of U.S. airline flights arrived on time – the third best year on record and the highest since 2003. The flight cancellation rate of 1.29 percent was the lowest since 2002 and tarmac delays were also down on a year-over-year basis.
“Flying remains the safest mode of transportation and airlines have shown stellar on time and baggage handling performance, during a time when airfares remain an unmatched bargain,” said A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich. “Airlines continue to provide affordable fares and reliable on time service, despite record high jet fuel prices, which have led to a nearly five percent increase in 2012 operating expenses.”
“According to Transportation Security Administration data, the number of checked bags per passenger actually increased slightly from a year ago, yet airline bag-handling continued to improve, in large part due to airline enhancements in baggage systems, vehicles, software and enhanced training,” Heimlich continued. “Despite the increased expenses, in 2012, U.S. airlines reinvested more than $9 billion to further enhance the customer experience through new aircraft, onboard amenities, baggage processing improvements and facilities.”Airlines’ improved performance could be further enhanced, with a National Airline Policy in place to address the high taxes, growing fuel prices, unnecessary regulations and an outdated air traffic control system.