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Airlines' performance up significantly

The nation’s largest airlines had an on-time performance rate in 2009 that was their best since 2003, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

In addition, the report shows that the carriers’ rate of mishandled baggage last year was the lowest recorded since 2004.

According to information filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the 19 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 79.5 percent in 2009, an improvement over 2008’s rate of 76 and the best annual record since the 82 percent on-time rate of 2003. In addition, the carriers recorded a mishandled baggage rate of 3.91 per 1,000 passengers in 2009, an improvement over 2008’s 5.26 and the best mark for a calendar year since the rate of 3.84 recorded in 2002.

The carriers recorded an on-time performance rate of 72 percent in Dec. 2009, an improvement over Dec. 2008’s 65.3 percent but down from Nov. 2009’s 88.6 mark, which was the highest on-time rate since comparable data was first collected in 1995.

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