Ontime Flights Hit An Air Pocket
By Scott Blake
After improving yearly, Miami International Airport’s on-time flight performance has slipped a bit.
Still, the number of flights departing late is significantly below past years, US Bureau of Transportation Statistics data show. The gains mirror a national trend as some airlines have focused more on getting planes out of the gate on time.
“There are various processes and initiatives we have put in place in Miami to help us run on schedule,” said Marilyn DeVoe, Miami vice president for American Airlines, Miami’s dominant carrier.
From January through May, of the 34,941 departing flights from Miami, 19.28% were late. That rose from 17.01% during the period last year after declining annually since 2008, when the late percentage hit a high of 27.9% among 27,280 takeoffs.
American’s on-time performance out of Miami mirrored that trend, although American’s late-flight percentage typically is a bit higher than the airport overall. From January through May, 21.16% of American’s 19,931 local departures were late, up from 19.08% last year.
Longer waits at Customs at Miami International might add to the rise in late takeoffs. The average daily peak wait at Miami’s North Terminal was as high as 75 minutes in May, up 23% from 2012 and second-longest among US airports, according to the nonprofit Global Gateway Alliance.
Spokesman Marc Henderson said Miami International has taken steps that aid on-time takeoffs.
“First, we have opened up more gates and will have three additional gates coming on line in the North Terminal, soon bringing the number of gates to 50,” he said. “Then, with the linear configuration in the North Terminal, aircraft can be “turned’ more frequently.”To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.