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Flight delays and cancellations on US airlines running higher than normal this year

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More U.S. flights arrived late in June than the month before, continuing a string of poor performances by the nation's airlines.

The government says that in the first six months of the year, the rate of late flights was the highest since 2008 and cancellations were the highest since 2000.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Thursday that among airlines reporting figures, 71.8 per cent of domestic flights arrived on time in June, down from 76.9 per cent the month before and 71.9 per cent in June 2013. A flight counts as late if it arrives more than 14 minutes behind schedule.

Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines, which aren't as exposed to bad weather in the eastern and central parts of the country, had the best on-time ratings. Delta Air Lines led among the biggest carriers.

Regional airlines Envoy and ExpressJet and big carriers Southwest and American were at the bottom of the rankings. All were late more than 30 per cent of the time. American and Envoy are both owned by American Airlines Group Inc., whose chief operating officer, Robert Isom, said that the company's network suffered more than rivals from bad weather.

About 2 per cent of all flights in June were cancelled, with Envoy, ExpressJet and SkyWest faring the worst. Delta, Hawaiian, Frontier, Virgin America and Alaska all had minuscule cancellation rates of 0.2 per cent or lower.

For the January-to-June period, 3 per cent of all flights were cancelled, the third-worst performance in the last 20 years, according to the government figures.

Jean Medina, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, a trade group for the large carriers, said weather has been the biggest factor all year, with 17,370 weather-related cancellations in the first half of 2014 compared with 11,480 in the same period last year.

"With the exception of April, every single month had worse weather-related cancellations than the year earlier ... there were times it was simply not safe to fly," Medina said.

For the first six months of 2014, 74.2 per cent of flights by the reporting airlines were on time. That is the fifth-lowest mark for the period in the last 20 years and the lowest since 2008 and 2007.

Consumers filed 1,095 complaints with the government against U.S. airlines, an increase of 16 per cent over June 2013. Hawaiian, AirTran, Southwest and Alaska had the lowest rate of complaints, while Frontier, United and US Airways had the highest.

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