The Air Travel Consumer Report issued Thursday indicated the 15 largest U.S. airlines posted an 83.7 percent on-time arrival rate during the first six months of 2012, the highest mark for any January-June period in the 18 years comparable data has been collected, the U.S. Transportation Department said.
The 1.1 percent cancellation rate for the six-month period also was the lowest for the past 18 years, the department said.
Only four tarmac delays longer than three hours on U.S. domestic flights were recorded between January and June, data showed. The Transportation Department enacted a rule in 2010 setting a three-hour limit for passenger aircraft on domestic flights to sit on the tarmac, with certain exceptions.
Reporting carriers also posted their lowest rate of mishandled baggage so far this year since the data was first reported in September 1987. The 2.97 reports of mishandled baggage per 1,000 passengers improved on the 3.60 set last year for the same time period.
"Our new airline consumer rules and our vigorous oversight of the aviation industry are holding airlines accountable to their customers," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "We will continue to help make air travel as hassle-free as possible."