WASHINGTON — United Airlines led U.S. carriers in on-time performance in October as the percentage of late-arriving flights rose industrywide for the first time in 19 months.
The percentage of flights of the 10 largest U.S. carriers that arrived within 15 minutes of their scheduled time fell to 84.2% from 84.8% in October 2001, according to a monthly report from the Department of Transportation.
UAL Corp.'s United completed 88% of its flights on time, ahead of US Airways Group Inc. at 87.9% and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines at 87.5%.
Continental Airlines Inc. had the fewest on-time flights in October at 78.4%, the report said.
October's drop in the on-time rate came as nearly 20% more paying passengers flew in the month compared with the previous year, when traffic fell after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to the Air Transport Assn.
The association is the industry trade group for the major carriers.
Year-over-year comparisons rose for 18 straight months, reaching a peak of 88% in September, the best showing since the department began collecting comparable data in 1995.