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Honolulu Airport flies under the T+L radar


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POSTED: Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The good news and the bad news is that Honolulu Airport is not included in Travel + Leisure's 2009 list of the best and worst airports for delays.

Good news because HNL, as it is known, was not among the worst airports — but it is bad news because it is not listed among the 10 best.

For Hawaiian Airlines the good news in T+L's August issue is the magazine reports that it has retained its No. 1 on-time ranking.

T+L combed through U.S. Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics records, focusing on flights departing no more than 15 minutes behind schedule from April 1, 2008, to March 31.

It came up with its lists of airports with the lowest and highest percentages of flight delays.

Statistics for Honolulu and airports on the neighbor islands were not immediately available.

The best-performing airports are in Salt Lake City; Portland, Ore.; and Washington D.C., with delayed departures of 12 percent, 15 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

New York's JFK and LaGuardia are among the worst, but taking the cake as having the worst record of delays is oft-disrespected Newark, which is actually in New Jersey but is considered a New York-area airport.

T+L's list of 10 worst airports after Newark with 30 percent of its flights leaving late are Chicago's O'Hare at 27 percent, and No. 3 Miami, with 26 percent of its flights delayed.

The magazine prepared an online slide show to explain a bit of each airport's ranking and how it stacked up against the year-earlier period.

For those with the need or the budget to travel, or both, the text that goes along with each airport's slide tips off travelers to the most congested time at each.

T+L's ranking of Hawaiian's 89.5 percent on-time performance is also based on figures from the Transportation Department. The agency tracks the percentage of on-time arrivals for 19 airlines, and the results reflect the airlines' track record from Feb. 1, 2008, to March 31.

The magazine points out that Hawaiian has dipped to 89.5 percent from 92 percent last year but that airline executives needn't worry, since it tops the list by a healthy margin.

It has landed at the top spot each year since 2004.

The No. 2 airline with 83.4 percent on-time arrivals, Pinnacle, operates flights for Northwest Airlink and Delta Connection.

It was No. 6 last year.

Southwest Airlines was No. 3 with 83 percent, better than its 80 percent rating of last year but insufficient to keep it from getting booted out of its No. 2 spot of 2008.

Mesa Air Group Inc., parent company of interisland carrier go!, ranked 15th with an on-time performance rating of 74.9 percent.

The lowest-rated airline on the list at No. 19, with a 73.4 percent on-time rating, is Comair, a Delta Connection carrier.

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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).