PHOENIX, March /PRNewswire-FirstCall/—As stated in the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Air Travel Consumer Report released today, America West Airlines` (NYSE: AWA) system-wide on-time performance was 77.8 percent for the month of January 2003. In Phoenix, where America West operates its main hub, 82.6 percent of the airline`s flights arrived on-time in January. The percentage of cancelled flights was 2.4 percent for the month.
Additionally, America West reported 4.50 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers and customer complaints to the DOT declined to 1.42 per 100,000 passengers. While the industry continues to operate on reduced capacity, America West operated a full flight schedule in January 2003 compared to January 2002.
On-time performance and cancelled flights for the month were adversely affected by some bad weather in Phoenix and extremely high passengers loads due to holiday and Fiesta Bowl traffic during the transition to new security procedures at the beginning of the year. Due to extraordinary dense fog, Sky Harbor International Airport, where America West is the leading airline, had shut down causing disruptions system-wide for the carrier. Still, the airline`s on-time performance was the second best for the month of January since 1994.
“We continue to focus on providing our customers with the best possible service,” said Jeff McClelland, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “While things like weather are out of our control, we always strive to be among the industry leaders in operational performance, and we are not pleased when we fall short of our goals. Our employees have proven time and time again that America West is a top performer and can deliver convenient, reliable service.”
America West has made significant strides in improving its operating performance over the last two and a half years since initiating comprehensive customer service initiatives. Recently, the airline rolled out a new initiative designed to reward employees based on operational performance statistics as posted in the DOT monthly report.
“We want to continue to foster teamwork and recognize the efforts of our dedicated employees,” added McClelland. “Although our service has improved dramatically, we all know there is always room for improvement. This new program is an opportunity for us to give something back to the employees when we work together to provide exceptional customer service.”
Under the new performance program beginning in March, every month in which America West ranks among the top three airlines in either on-time performance and/or customer complaints as measured by the DOT, all employees will receive $50. Additionally, for every month America West ranks No. 1 in on-time performance, employees will be rewarded with $50 to make the total payment $100 for that month.
Founded in 1983 and proudly celebrating its 20-year anniversary in 2003, America West Airlines is the nation`s second largest low-fare airline and the only carrier formed since deregulation to achieve major airline status. Today, America West serves 92 destinations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.