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Westjet Arrives Ahead Of US Rivals

Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:35 am

I found this article in the Globe and Mail (Aug 30). I posted a topic a while back about Westjet having the best OTP for all of North American in June but not alot of people believed me. Well, here it is for ya'll.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. says its planes arrived on time 92.3 per cent of the time in June -- more often than any of its U.S. rivals.

The Calgary-based discounter says it will now post operating statistics on its Web site on a monthly basis. While U.S. airlines are required to release this data, Canadian carriers are not.

"It gives a sense of comfort to our guests that we take our on time performance very seriously," WestJet spokeswoman Siobhan Vinish said yesterday.

While WestJet has released operating statistics at times in the past, it has not done so for several months, Ms. Vinish said. The plan is now to release such data monthly. WestJet uses the same definition of on-time performance as U.S. carriers, which means flights that arrive at the gate within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival.

The U.S. carrier with the best performance was SkyWest Airlines, with a 90.3-per-cent on-time performance, followed by Southwest Airlines with 85.4 per cent.

Among the largest U.S. carriers, United Airlines said its on-time performance was 84.4 per cent, with Delta Air Lines at 82 per cent and American Airlines at 80.5 per cent.

WestJet said it cancelled 0.4 per cent of its flights in June, which put the airline in fourth place in that category behind Jetblue Airways, Continental Airlines and America West Airlines, but tied with Delta and United.

Air Canada does not release on-time performance statistics or cancelled flights. Spokeswoman Laura Cooke said the airline would do so if the federal government established reporting guidelines.

"Assuming that the purpose of reporting statistics is to assist consumers, then we believe it is important to establish a consistent reporting methodology that could be applied to all carriers," Ms. Cooke said.

Warren Everson, vice-president for the Air Transport Association of Canada, commended WestJet for releasing its on-time performance. But he said Ottawa should not follow Washington's lead by compelling Canadian carriers to release such data.

"We certainly don't believe the government should be mandating the airlines to produce a report. It's a business relationship between business person and consumer and we don't see why the government would have a role in that," Mr. Everson said.