Despite being embroiled in labor conflicts and flying with full airplanes, Northwest Airlines posted the second-best on-time performance among the 10 biggest U.S. carriers during the summer vacation season.
For the months of June through August, 78.4 percent of Northwest's flights arrived on time, according to FlightStats, a company that tracks airline flights. Only Southwest Airlines finished ahead of Northwest among the 10.
"The credit for these strong results goes to our employees, who provided our customers with a high level of on-time performance despite extremely high load factors," Northwest spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch said Tuesday.
During June, 89.7 percent of Northwest seats were filled, while the July figure was 89.1 percent and the August level was 86.9 percent.
Doug Steenland, Northwest's CEO, noted the employee achievements in a Monday message to the workforce. Among the six network carriers, Steenland said, "For July, Northwest ranked best in on-time performance, [flight] completion factor and mishandled luggage and was No. 2 for [fewest] customer complaints."
Steenland recently reported that Northwest was first in on-time performance among major airlines for the first half of this year. Northwest also was first in luggage handling and had the fewest consumer complaints in its peer group of the six network airlines. Steenland called it "amazing" for employees to turn in that performance "at a time of record load factors" and while the airline is restructuring in bankruptcy.
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