With only 49. 8 percent of its flights arriving on time in June, Alaska Airlines hit a number of industry lows. It had the worst on-time...
With only 49.8 percent of its flights arriving on time in June, Alaska Airlines hit a number of industry lows.
It had the worst on-time performance among major U.S. airlines for the second month in a row. It was the only airline with less than half its flights arriving on time — the second-worst performer in June was AirTran Airways, at 66.4 percent.
And Alaska’s on-time performance was the worst reported by any carrier since United Airlines’ 42.7 percent showing in August 2000, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Alaska did only slightly better in flight cancellations. It canceled 3.1 percent of its flights in June, ranking third-worst among the 20 U.S. airlines that report such information.
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Officials at the Seattle-based airline say July results will be much improved with about 65 percent of flights arriving on time and less than 1 percent canceled. The government will not release those figures until next month.
Still, spokeswoman Amanda Tobin said, “We recognize there is plenty of work to be done.”
Alaska said factors that contributed to its performance problems included more-crowded planes, a series of labor negotiations and changes in its work force.
The airline pulled 16 daily flights from its schedule in mid-June, allowing it to add more time between flights and generally alleviating pressure in the system. It also is adding about 20 new customer-service-agent positions in Seattle, and in the past couple weeks set up an internal task force to identify causes of the performance problems and how they can be fixed.
Longtime Alaska customer Nick Andrade said the problems have taxed his patience. The Seattle-area native, who now lives in California, said he is taking a break from his hometown carrier after too many delayed flights.
“Frankly, I want to be loyal to Alaska Airlines, but recent late departures and arrivals have forced me to fly with Southwest,” he said.
Workers at Alaska are frustrated as well, said Veda Shook, president of the Association of Flight Attendants at Alaska.
“We want to continue to be proud to work for Alaska Airlines,” she said. “But there’s a morale problem when flight attendants and ticket agents are constantly having to be apologetic for delayed flights.”
Shook said morale is improving now that more flights are arriving on time. She also said there is no organized labor action causing the flight delays or cancellations.
This week, Alaska began posting daily on-time performance and cancellation information on an employee Web site, www.alaskasworld.com. According to the site, 69.5 percent of flights were on time on Wednesday, better than the airline has done in recent months but still short of its goal of 82 percent.
The site also said that only 2.7 percent of flights last month were delayed by two hours or more, down from 4.6 percent in June.
Alaska’s on-time problems also have dragged down Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s on-time statistics. The airport ranked last among major U.S. airports for on-time departures in June, at 66.47 percent. It ranked second-worst for on-time arrivals, at 64.27 percent.
Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or firstname.lastname@example.org