AIRLINE & TRAVEL NEWS.

 
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The US Dept. of Transportation reported on Oct. 6 2004 that airline ontime performance improved in Aug. 2004 compared to July despite the impact of a pair of severe hurricanes during the month, but deteriorated compared to Aug. 2003.

According to data filed with DOT, the 19 reporting carriers recorded an overall ontime arrival rate of 78.3% in Aug., improved over July's 75.9% but below Aug. 2003's 79%.

Hawaiian Airlines again posted the highest overall ontime arrival rate at 95.5%, while on the mainland SkyWest and Continental Airlines were No. 1 and No. 2. American Airlines at 73.5% posted the worst rate in Aug.; it maintains a hub in Miami and an extensive Caribbean network, both of which were impacted by the severe weather.

The carriers reported that 7.3% of delayed flights were due to aviation system delays compared to 8.1% in July, 6.3% to late-arriving aircraft compared to 7% in July and 5.2% to factors within the airline's control versus 6% in July. In addition, 1.1% were delayed by extreme weather and 0.1% for security reasons, equal to July's rates in both areas.

The airlines canceled 1.6% of their scheduled domestic flights in Aug., the same rate seen in both Aug. 2003 and July 2004. American Eagle Airlines canceled 3.5% of its flights during the month, the highest among airlines reporting, while Hawaiian posted the lowest rate at 0.4%. In spite of the fact that probably 40% of JetBlue flights touch hurricane-ravaged Florida, it still tied Continental for second place with a cancellation rate of just 0.6%.

The most frequently delayed flight was ExpressJet Airlines Flight 3431 from Washington Dulles to Newark, which was late 93.6% of the time.

In August 2004, the U.S. airlines reported a mishandled baggage rate of 4.81 per 1,000 passengers, higher than Aug. 2003's 4.61 but an improvement over July 2004's 4.99. Oct 15, 2004

According to the Air Travel Consumer Report issued on Oct. 5 2004 by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Hawaiian Airlines ranked for the 10th consecutive month, as the nation's most punctual airline in August with an incredible 95.5 percent of its flights arriving on time (see chart below).

Air Travel Consumer Report On-Time Performance -

August 2004 Rank Airline % Arr w/in 15 min

* 1 Hawaiian Airlines 95.5

* 2 SkyWest Airlines 86.2

* 3 Continental Airlines 81.3

* 4 Northwest Airlines 81.2

* 5 ATA Airlines 80.7

* 6 AirTran Airways 80.7

* 7 Atlantic Southeast Airlines 80.6

* 8 United Airlines 80.1

* 9 ExpressJet Airlines 79.3

* 10 Comair 79.2

* 11 Atlantic Coast Airlines 77.7

* 12 Southwest Airlines 77.4

* 13 Alaska Airlines 77.2

* 14 Delta Air Lines 76.2

* 15 US Airways 75.6

* 16 JetBlue Airways 75.4

* 17 America West Airlines 74.9

* 18 American Eagle Airlines 74.0

* 19 American Airlines 73.5

TOTAL AVERAGE 78.3

In addition, Hawaiian finished #1 among airlines nationwide for its handling of customers' luggage, and for recording the fewest number of flight cancellations. Hawaii's biggest and longest-serving airline also ranked highly with the fewest number of consumer complaints.

Hawaiian's industry-best punctuality was just one facet to its customer service record for August, as the company also ranked at the top in the other categories reported by DOT for mishandled baggage reports, flight cancellations, and consumer complaints. For the second straight month, Hawaiian topped all carriers nationally with its handling of customers' luggage, recording only 2.41 mishandled baggage reports per 1,000 passengers served. The company also had the nation's best record in terms of fewest flight cancellations. Out of Hawaiian's 4,469 flights in August, only 0.4 percent -- or 19 flights total -- were canceled, topping all other carriers. Hawaiian ranked as the industry's fifth-best airline in terms of consumer complaints, with the DOT receiving only two complaints, the fewest of any airline, out of the 512,770 passengers served in August, representing just 0.39 complaints for every 100,000 passengers. Dunkerley noted, "No airline anywhere is doing a better job at serving its passengers." The DOT's Air Travel Consumer Report for August is available online at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/reports/atcr04.htm Oct 7, 2004

Ada Air will resume daily service between Tirana and Bari in Nov. 2004 using F100s. Oct 27, 2004

Air Berlin will start daily 737-800 service from Berlin Tegel to Madrid and from Palma de Mallorca to Reus Dec. 18 2004. Oct 27, 2004

Air Canada will move to double-daily services with 767s between Sydney and Vancouver as part of its international revamp following its emergence from bankruptcy. Chairman, President and CEO Robert Milton announced Monday that the increase in the existing daily service via Honolulu will be undertaken as one of AC's priorities. The carrier competes between Australia and Canada with Qantas, which serves the market through the US in conjunction with oneworld partner American Airlines. It is understood that AC will consider the introduction of nonstop Sydney-Vancouver services using A340-500s when more of the long- range aircraft become available. Oct 13, 2004

Air Canada has finally come out of bankruptcy protection and its shares are due to be traded on the Toronto Stock Market from today. It is now mainly owned by its debtors with the original shareholders getting virtually nothing. The slimmed down AC now has 33,000 staff, down from 40,000 18 months back, and around 290 aircraft, reduced from 366 at the same time. However the next few months are going to be very difficult for the airline and its Jazz regional subsidiary, the back end of the year traditionally a poor trading period. http://www.canada.ca Oct 4, 2004

Air Exel is to sever its links with KLM over the coming months. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Air Exel have decided to revise their cooperative ties. The existing KLM Exel franchise will be discontinued effective 6 November 2004. From that date, Air Exel will operate ATR 72 flights between Eindhoven and Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Hamburg under its own name and XT flight numbers. Air Exel will continue to operate fly between Maastricht and Schiphol on behalf of KLM until 26 March 2005, after which KLM cityhopper will take over the flights on this route. http://www.exelaviationgroup.com Oct 18, 2004

Air France is to introduce on 1 December 2004 a three times weekly 'Dedicate' nonstop service between Paris and Riyadh, as part of its Dedicate program, a tailor-made operation aimed at corporate customers working in the energy and capital goods sectors. The new route illustrates the success of this innovative product, launched in January 2004 on flights to Malabo and Pointe Noire and since extended to other destinations: Doha, Kuwait and Tashkent. Flights will be operated by the Airbus A319ER (Extended Range) aircraft with two cabins: 28 in l'Espace Affaires and 54 in Tempo. http://www.airfrance.fr Oct 30, 2004

Air France subsidiary Regional will launch daily service from Bordeaux to Mulhouse Oct. 31 using an Embraer 135 and twice-daily Paris CDG- Ljubljana service Nov. 15 2004 with an Embraer 145. Oct 26, 2004

Air New Zealand will no longer sell First Class seats on 747-400 flights after June 10, 2005. It is refitting its cabins with three new classes - a premium class, super economy class, and refreshed economy. All cabins will have new seats, in-flight entertainment systems and new food and beverage service. Premium Class will have lie-flat seats, Super Economy seats will have 40-inch pitch and be equipped with video screens, and Economy Class will have 34-inches of pitch. Passengers already booked in First Class beyond that date, and agents will be contacted to assist in rebooking. Oct 19, 2004

Air Polonia was introduced officially as the European Low Fares Airlines Assn.'s 12th member during the group's annual general meeting held during the Routes Conference in Madrid. ELFAA also said AirAsia has expressed an interest in joining. Oct 5, 2004

AirBaltic and Scandinavian Airlines agreed to codeshare on airBaltic flights between Riga and Vilnius. Oct 27, 2004

AirTran Airways resumed its flights from Atlanta to Grand Bahama Island and intends to resume its flights from Baltimore/Washington Airport on Nov. 18. The airport was closed on Sept. 3 2004 because of damages suffered under Hurricane Frances. David Johnson, president of the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board, said, "After the devastating impact of the recent hurricanes, it will be a big boost to the islands of the Bahamas to restore service at Freeport International Airport." Oct 14, 2004

AirTran Airways said it will launch new daily nonstop service to both Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Baltimore/Washington International Airport from Sarasota Bradenton International Airport Dec. 17 2004 using 717s. Oct 5, 2004

Alaska Airlines applied for authority to launch twice-weekly nonstop service from Los Angeles to Loreto Feb. 17 2005. The flights will be supported by a marketing partnership with The Loreto Bay Co. Oct 25, 2004

Aloha Airlines will begin daily nonstop service between San Diego and Maui and between San Diego and Reno/Tahoe International Airport Dec. 15 2004. Both flights will be operated using 737-700s in a two-class configuration. Oct 8, 2004

American Airlines has applied to the US Department of Transportation for authority to resume daily nonstop services between Dallas/Fort Worth and Osaka from November 2005, and to launch daily nonstop services between Chicago and Nagoya next April. Osaka would become American's 33rd international destination from its Dallas/Fort Worth hub, and Nagoya will increase to 19 the number of international points American serves from its Chicago hub. Together, Osaka and Nagoya will give the airline a total of seven routes between the US and Japan and allow American to expand access to an area of Japan that is home to many major Japanese and several key US companies. Both routes would use 236-seat Boeing 777s. If you have not been there Kansai International...

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