America West Airlines
(NYSE: AWA) led all carriers in on-time performance for the month of December
2001, capping a year in which the airline posted dramatic gains in every facet
of its operations and solidly rebounded from its much-publicized service
difficulties during the summer of 2000.
“This performance should provide assurance to our customers that America
West is a much different airline today than it was 18 months ago,” said Doug
Parker, chairman and chief executive officer. “Much of the credit goes to
Jeff McClelland, executive vice president of operations, and his team for
overseeing this remarkable turnaround. Our 13,000 employees are to be
commended for their dedication, their commitment and their drive to return
this airline to reliability.”
According to the Department of Transportation`s monthly Air Travel
Consumer Report released today, 86.6 percent of America West`s flights arrived
on time in December 2001, ranking the carrier ahead of all other major
airlines and well above the industry average of 80.2 percent. In December
2000, by contrast, 64.6 percent of America West`s flights arrived on time.
At Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, where America West is the leading
carrier and operates nearly 75 percent of all of its flights, the airline
earned the top spot among all carriers with 89.4 percent of its flights
arriving on time.
Additionally, America West`s cancellations in December fell to 0.7 percent
from 4.7 percent a year ago, an 85 percent improvement, ranking it fifth out
of 11 major airlines. The airline`s baggage handling improved 35 percent to
4.19 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers, third best among major airlines.
“We implemented an operations improvement plan in August 2000 with the
goal of achieving a turnaround in operational performance, and I am happy to
say that we have achieved that goal,” added Parker. “Today we are offering
our customers consistent, reliable service that is as good or better than any
Since the kickoff of the improvement plan, America West has posted
consistent, year-over-year improvements in its operating performance,
highlighted by double-digit gains in the key areas of on-time arrivals,
percentages of flights completed, baggage handling and customer complaints.
Under the plan, America West restructured its approach to line maintenance
operation, including increased staffing, parts provisioning, automation and
support; increased its capacity to perform preventative and
reliability - related maintenance; implemented new automation to optimize the
provisioning of spare parts and components; and increased ramp personnel in
Phoenix and Las Vegas.
For the full-year 2001, America West`s on-time arrival percentage rose to
74.8 percent, eclipsing the 65.5 percent reported the prior year. The
airline`s DOT completion factor rose sharply as cancellations dropped to
2.1 percent, compared with 4.3 percent in 2000. Additionally, for the full
year, America West`s baggage-handling performance improved by 36 percent. As
a result of these improvements, customer complaints to the DOT declined by
more than 50 percent.