Report: More flight delays across country blamed on Atlanta airport than any other

Monday, June 28, 2010

Atlanta airport delays have most ripple effects

ATLANTA — A study says more delays at major airports across the country were attributed to problems at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport than at any other.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said the report by the Government Accountability Office shows that problems in Atlanta affect air traffic all over the country. Hartsfield-Jackson is the world’s busiest airport.

Hartsfield-Jackson ranked 29th out of 31 major airports for on-time performance in 2009.

Airport spokesman John Kennedy attributed the report’s findings to the large volume of traffic at the world’s busiest airport. He said it’s logical that what happens in Atlanta would affect travelers across the country.

The report said that overall airline on-time performance improved across the country, but declined in Atlanta. At Hartsfield-Jackson, 72.6 percent of flights arrived on time in 2009, down from 75.5 percent in 2008. The higher delay rate was due to an increase in the number of scheduled flights and peak periods during the day.

This year so far, however, Atlanta’s airport has seen an improvement in on-time performance, with 78.6 percent of flights arriving on time in the first four months of the year and a No. 16 ranking.

But Hartsfield-Jackson is still one of a few airports in the country that may not be able to meet increases in air travel demand unless it takes “additional actions,” according to the GAO report.

Actions to reduce delays include capacity increases like new runways, traffic management measures like hourly flight caps, and improved technology for air traffic management.

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