Hawaiian ranks No. 1 in airline quality study
Hawaiian Airlines, already the top overall performing carrier in the nation the last three years according to U.S. Department of Transportation data, has bumped JetBlue from the top spot in the 17th annual Airline Quality Rating report.
The Honolulu-based carrier, making the AQR list for the first time, was recognized for its industry-leading on-time performance (93.8 percent) for 2006, as well as the fewest baggage handling complaints (3.14 per 1,000 passengers).
The report, released yesterday, also lauded Hawaiian's complaint rate of 0.64 complaints per 100,000 passengers, which rated fourth; and its denied boarding performance (0.13 per 10,000), which ranked third.
"Hawaiian entered the AQR ratings with the best AQR score of an airline rated this year," said the study, which was co-authored by Dean Headley, an associate professor at Wichita State University and Brent Bowen, director and professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Aviation Institute/School of Public Administration.
The study, which only included airlines that have 1 percent of the domestic marketplace, ranked 18 airlines and used four main elements -- on-time perfor- mance, baggage handling, consumer complaints, and denied boarding -- to judge the quality of airline service. Mesa Air Group, which this year also reached the 1 percent threshold, finished 15th of 18 carriers.
Aloha doesn't have 1 percent of the marketplace, but in April 2006 began reporting voluntarily to the DOT.
Headley said Hawaiian's geographical location likely aided its performance.
"They have a rather specific route structure and a rather successful plan they implement, so you might expect an airline that flies shorter hops and in pretty good weather to be better -- certainly in on-time and the baggage issues," Headley said.
The study said that Mesa's on-time performance, denied boarding performance, customer complaints were all below the industry average while its mishandled baggage was well above the average.
Go! represents only about 1.5 percent of Mesa's business and isn't necessarily reflective of Mesa's overall performance.
In separate DOT Air Travel Consumer Report monthly rankings released yesterday, Hawaiian ranked first in February for on-time service, fewest cancellations and fewest complaints. Hawaiian was third in fewest mishandled bags.
Aloha Airlines finished second in on-time service, fewest cancellations and baggage handling, and fourth in fewest complaints