I know that major airlines keep track of what causes their flights to be delayed. However, for the most part, the public only has access to stats on the percentage of flight arrivals delayed in excess of 15 minutes, regardless of the reason. I'm curious as to what percentage of these delays, on average, are caused by or contributed to by mechanical problems?
I've always thought that ATC/weather issues that limit an airport's capacity caused the vast majority of delays. However, my family members have experienced many "mechanicals" over the years, and I'm really beginning to wonder how common such occurances are.
For example, my uncle's last four flights on AS have been delayed between 50 mins and 1hr 50 mins, each time due to an issue with the aircraft discovered between flights.
I am MOST GRATEFUL that they discovered the problems, and addressed them. I've heard that Alaska chooses to fix many non-critical items that malfunction during the day, rather than defer them until a regularly scheduled check like some other airlines. But, even still, it does seem like my uncle has had incredibly bad streak of luck.
I realize there are many different causes of "mechanical delays," but just in general, how common an occurance is this? I think my uncle is really having doubts about flying on this airline, and I'm having a hard time convincing them that they truly are very safety-conscious airline.