American Eagle was behind 15 of 16 long tarmac delays in May

American Eagle, the commuter carrier for American Airlines, was responsible for 15 of the 16 tarmac delays over three hours long reported by the nation’s largest airlines in May, according to a report released today by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Fort Worth-based American Eagle had 14 flights with long tarmac delays upon arriving May 29 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport amid severe weather conditions. The longest delay was 223 minutes. American Eagle and Southwest Airlines were responsible for the remaining two delays.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said it’s investigating all of the tarmac delays. Under new DOT rules, airlines can face fines of up to $27,500 per passenger on flights that sit on the tarmac for more than three hours.

American Eagle also had the highest cancellation rate in May of the nation’s 16 largest airlines — 6.6 percent of its flights. American Airlines was No. 2 with 5.5 percent of its May flights canceled, including many after hail damaged planes in North Texas.

Overall, the 16 airlines had an on-time arrival rate of 77.1 percent in May, down from the 79.9 percent a year earlier.

Hawaiian Airlines had the best on-time rate (91.4 percent). American Eagle had the worst rate (67.6 percent). American Airlines had the second worst on-time rate (70.3 percent). Dallas-based Southwest Airlines ranked No. 8 at 76.7 percent.

Airlines performed worse in two other areas in May. Overall, complaints about airline service jumped 33 percent to 1,062 complaints from 799 in May 2010. Airlines posted a mishandled baggage rate of 3.52 reports per 1,000 passengers, up from the 3.23 rate in May 2010.

Here are the top 10 on-time arrival rates and local carriers:

Rank Airline Percent of
    on-time arrivals
1 Hawaiian Airlines 91.4
2 Alaska Airlines 90.7
3 AirTran Airways 85.9
4 Mesa Airlines 84.8
5 Delta Air Lines 82.7
6 SkyWest Airlines 81.5
7 United Airlines 78.4
8 Southwest Airlines 76.7
9 JetBlue Airways 76.2
10 Continental Airlines 76
15 American Airlines 70.3
16 American Eagle 67.6


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