Northwest Has Fewest Timely August Flights

Northwest Airlines lagged all major carriers in on-time performance in August, as it struggled to cope with a strike by its mechanics.

Just 67.2 percent of Northwest flights arrived on time in August, down from 81.2 percent in the same month in 2004.

The untimely showing by Northwest was not surprising.

Since the Aug. 19 strike by the airline's mechanics, much attention has been focused on Northwest's on-time performance as well as the maintenance of its planes by a mix of replacement workers, outside vendors and managers licensed as mechanics.

Reports issued by Northwest and firms that track on-time performance already had revealed that the airline's on-time mark slipped below 60 percent -- and even 50 percent -- on some days in August.

For August, Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest ranked 18th among 20 carriers whose performance is tracked by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. They posted an average on-time arrival mark of 75.2 percent.

Northwest also cancelled 1,236 flights in August, or 2.9 percent of its total schedule, fourth highest among airlines in the survey.

Given all the bad days Northwest had before and after the mechanics struck, Northwest's on-time numbers are "pretty good," said CheapSeats.com travel expert Terry Trippler.

"September will tell the story," he said, referring to the airline's need to bring on-time performance back to normal levels. "But they'll get back up there. If they stayed in that (60 percent) territory, they'd get a bad reputation."

Among the big carriers, United Airlines had 80.9 percent of its flights arrive on time in August; Southwest 78.4; US Airways, 78.3; Continental 75.7; American, 73.1; Delta, 70.1.


Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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