News from around the region80 percent of flights on time at SW Fla. airport, study finds
A study released by the Brookings Institution Thursday stated that Southwest Florida International Airport had a 80.9 percent rate for on-time arrival from January to August. “We certainly are pleased that we consistently run in the 80s. We work very closely with the airlines to give them the infrastructure to support their flights, so they can leave here on time,” Lee County Port Authority Public Relations Director Victoria Moreland said. She said that during 2008, between January and August, Southwest Florida International Airport had a 76.15 percent on-time arrival performance. According to the Brookings Institution, the nation’s airports are experiencing some of the largest arrival and departure delays in nearly a century. Since 2000, at least 15 percent of flights have been delayed by 15 minutes. “Our data shows that the air travel system has never been under so much stress,” Adie Tomer, a research analyst for the Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of the report said in a prepared statement. “On-time performance has improved recently because the number of people flying is at its lowest point since 9/11; but as the economy bounces back, air passenger levels will grow, and on-time performance will likely resume its decline.” A prepared statement from the Brookings Air Travel stated, “The number of airline flights landing at least two hours late has more than doubled in the last two decades and is expected to rise as the economy recovers in the coming months.” The current national average for delayed flights is one hour. Southwest Florida International Airport had an average delayed arrival time of 50 minutes as of June. Moreland explained that the airport does not have any control over delayed flights due to the airlines scheduling the plane flights. A total of 6.6 percent was attributed to the National Aviation System of delays, which consists of approximately one-half due to weather driven delays and one-third contributed to pure volume, Moreland said. She explained that since fewer planes are flying this year the National Aviation System of delays is 8.9 percent. “We make sure we have facilities to handle people who come through the airport,” she said. Moreland added that Southwest Florida International Airport has the capability of providing an infrastructure to help passengers move through the airport to boarding the airplane as smoothly as possible. From 1990-2008, a strong economic growth has helped American airports increase their passenger and flight levels by more than 60 percent, according to the Brookings Institution. Since the current economic downturn, airports have felt a sustained reduction in passengers and flights since 2008. Moreland said Southwest Florida International Airport saw a 3.25 percent decrease from January to August in passenger traffic, with only 7 percent fewer flights. The Brookings Institution report is an analysis of air travel among metro areas, instead of individual airports. The report focuses on where travelers go and how often individuals are flying, along with tracking if flights take off and land on time.