Federal report ranks Alaska last in the nation for on-time arrivals

Company also ranked poorly for mishandled baggage, flight cancellations

Posted: Sunday, August 07, 2005

ANCHORAGE - Alaska Airlines posted the nation's weakest on-time arrival rate for the third month in a row, with about half its flights arriving on schedule in June, according to a report released Thursday.

The Seattle-based airline's 49.8 percent on-time arrival rate in June was worse than its 59 percent in May, according to the report by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In June of last year, Alaska Airlines ranked sixth best.

The department's Air Travel Consumer Report ranks the performance of the nation's biggest 20 airlines.

The airline also ranked poorly for mishandled baggage and flight cancellations, the report said.

Amanda Tobin, spokeswoman for the airline, said Alaska Air's reliability fell as labor problems coincided with the start of its busier summer schedule.

Alaska Air Group, parent company for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, said it wants $112 million in labor savings in a two-year plan to cut $340 million from annual operating expenses.

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For more, go to Aviation Consumer Protection Division: http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/

In mid-May, the airline replaced 472 union baggage workers at its Seattle hub with contract workers from Menzies, which handles the airline's baggage at airports south of Seattle.

Last month, pilots, mechanics and flight attendants rejected tentative agreements the airline reached with their unions.

Two weeks ago, the airline posted a $17.4 million profit for the three months ended June 30, up from a $1.7 million loss for the same quarter last year. The company lost money in four of the last five years, including $15.3 million last year, according to filings with regulators.

Earlier this week, Alaska announced the addition of a Los Angeles-to-Mexico City flight.

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