1 in 5 flights late in Fresno

The Fresno BeeMay 16, 2014 

Passengers weave their way to the check-in counter at Fresno Yosemite International Airport. About one in five arrivals was more than 15 minutes late arriving at airport gate from January through March, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

MARK CROSSE — Fresno Bee Staff Photo Buy Photo

Across the country, more than one out of every four flights on the nation's largest airlines in the first quarter of 2014 failed to reach its destination on time — collectively the worst on-time performance for the industry in seven years.

At Fresno Yosemite International Airport, those same airlines had a slightly better track record — about one in five arrivals was more than 15 minutes late arriving at the airport gate from January through March, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Late aircraft arrivals at another airport — and thus late departures — were the chief reason for delays in Fresno, affecting about 10% of arrivals at FYI. Another 5.6% of flights were delayed because of circumstances within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew issues, aircraft cleaning, baggage loading or fueling. Just over 4% of flights were delayed because of issues in the nation's aviation system including airport operations, heavy volume of flights or air-traffic control problems.

Weather was responsible for delaying fewer than two-tenths of 1% of flights arriving in Fresno.

The figures reported to the DOT by American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Mesa Air Group and SkyWest Airlines reveal that of almost 2,700 scheduled passenger flights to FYI during the quarter, 548 or 20.3% were delayed by more than 15 minutes. Fifty other flights were canceled and one was diverted to a different airport.

The four reporting airlines represent about 90% of the scheduled airline operations at FYI.

Only the nation's largest airlines are required to report their on-time performance data to federal regulators. But United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and US Airways contract with other companies to provide their service to Fresno.

Airlines serving Fresno that aren't required to report are Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air and Allegiant.

SkyWest, which operates flights to and from Fresno under agreements with United, Delta, Alaska and US Airways, accounted for almost 2,500 of all flights into Fresno. Nearly 490 of its flights, or about 20%, experienced delays. Among late flights, the average delay was about 56 minutes.

Among the other airlines:

Mesa Air, which flies between Fresno and Phoenix under the US Airways Express brand, had the best on-time arrival performance, with only 21 of its 321 flights (6.5%) running 15 or more minutes late. Data on its average delay was unavailable.

American Airlines reported that 40 of its 162 flights (24.7%) to Fresno from Dallas-Fort Worth experienced delays. The average delay was just under 47 minutes.

Frontier Airlines had the weakest local performance, with 23 of its 39 flights (59%) arriving late. The average delay was about 45 minutes. The airline flew three weekly flights between Fresno and Denver in the first quarter of the year. It recently increased its frequency to four weekly flights.

The DOT tracks both arrival and departure delays — figures that are similar in Fresno because so many flights make turnaround trips. When an aircraft is late to arrive at an airport, it usually affects when that airplane will be able to depart.

The four reporting airlines — American, Frontier, Mesa Air Group and SkyWest — represent about 90% of the scheduled airline operations at FYI.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6319, tsheehan@fresnobee.com or @TimSheehanNews on Twitter.

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