Southwest Airlines gets back on time

Southwest's on-time performance now at 79%

Over the last year, Southwest Airlines has gone from having one of the worst on-time performance rates among major carriers to having one of the best.

Executives at the Dallas-based airline said their low on-time rate was the result of trying to maximize revenue by scheduling too many flights per day. The schedules were so jam-packed that any mechanical problem or staffing error created a ripple of delays throughout the airline.

Starting in August of last year, Southwest began increasing the time allotted for each flight as well as the time needed to connect and turn around flights after they arrived at airports.

It seems to have made a difference. The airline reported a 79% on-time arrival rate in January, compared with a 69% rate in January of 2014, according to Flightview, a company that monitors airline arrival data.

Among major U.S. carriers, Hawaiian Airlines had the highest rating, with an 86% on-time record.

“We are pleased with the positive results of our schedule investments as demonstrated by our year-over-year results for January 2015,” said Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish. “We will work hard to maintain Southwest’s positive performance momentum throughout 2015.”

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