January 12, 2018 / 7:30 PM / a year ago

U.S. airlines November on-time rates highest in eight years

A Delta plane passes a Delta bus on the tarmac at LAX airport in Los Angeles, California U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. airlines in November had their highest on-time arrival rates in eight years, the U.S. Department of Transportation said on Friday, setting another watermark in a record-breaking year for safety and performance.

November also matched the record for fewest canceled domestic flights - 0.3 percent - equal to the record set in September and November of 2016.

Leading the flock with the highest on-time arrival rates were Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), with 93.7 percent of flights arriving on time, Spirit Airlines (SAVE.N), with 89.8 percent on-time arrivals, and Hawaiian Airlines logging 89.3 percent of flights as arriving on time.

The airlines with the lowest on-time arrival rates were Virgin America and Alaska Airlines, both subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group Inc (ALK.N), and regional carrier SkyWest Airlines (SKYW.O).

Commercial passenger airlines also set a record for safety in 2017, with zero accidental deaths recorded last year, according to groups that track crashes.

Despite carriers’ commercial success, 2017 ranked among the most turbulent years for airline-customer relations amid a number of high profile public relations crises and congressional threats of more stringent regulation of the industry.

While complaints about the treatment of disabled passengers and about discrimination were both down year-over-year in the month of November, general complaints about airline service increased 27.1 percent in the month to 1,299.

Reporting by Alana Wise; Editing by Phil Berlowitz

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