Airline Delays Set Record in 2006: 22.1 million Minutes or 42 Years

Airline delays increased sharply to record levels in 2006 as 22% of flights were delayed 15 or more minutes during the course of 2006, according to according to federal data obtained by USA TODAY. Just under 20% of flights were delayed in 2005, according to the Department of Transportation. 

Aircraft were delayed 22.1 million minutes last year (the equivalent of just over 42 years of delays), according to the Federal Aviation Administration records. That translates to delays of at least 15 minutes for 22% of flights on large airlines through November, according to the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics, reports USA Today.

Other Highlights:

  • There were only 1,972 complaints to the federal government about airline delays through October, compared to 9,235 in 2000.
  • New York's three airports led the nation in the percentage of late flights through November. At Newark airport, a third of arrivals on major airlines were at least 15 minutes late.
  • Among the nation's major airlines, Continental Airlines (CAL), the largest carrier at Newark, had the largest percentage of flight delays at 27%. 
  • Among the major carriers, Southwest Airlines had the best on-time record with only 19% of its flights delayed more than 15 minutes.
  • Among the nation's 20 largest carriers through November, Atlantic Southeast Airlines had the worst percentage of flights delayed 15 minutes or more, at 34%. 
  • Hawaiian Airlines has the best on-time performance, with only 6% of flights delayed. 
  • Weather was the major cause of the delays. 

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