Salt Lake airport ranked No. 1 for on-time arrivals and departures

Published: Tuesday, March 18 2014 7:16 p.m. MDT

Salt Lake City International Airport retained its place on top for rankings of both on-time arrival and departure performance at major airports last year.

Jordan Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City International Airport retained its place on top for rankings of both on-time arrival and departure performance at major airports last year.

In 2013, 85.04 percent of arrivals and 86.69 percent of departures were on time, according to the United States Department of Transportation. Both numbers followed the general trend and went down about 3 percent from 2012, when the airport also took the top slots.

At the bottom of the list for arrivals is No. 29, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, just above 70 percent. Chicago Midway International Airport bottoms out the departures rankings at 66.6 percent.

"It's really an airline responsibility," Salt Lake City International Airport spokeswoman Barbara Gann said.

Gann said three factors determine on-time performance, the most influential being weather.

"We've been very lucky the last couple of years to enjoy weather that has not impacted our operations significantly," Gann said. "Especially this winter, a lot of the other hub airports in the United States have received a lot more snow than we have."

She said airport employees work hard to handle weather when it does come and the airport has a good track record of remaining open during inclement weather.

Salt Lake City International Airport houses seven airlines, but at least three-quarters of air traffic comes from one airline, which is Delta. Cargo carriers and the military also contribute to traffic in the air field.

Gann said Delta is invested in making the connection work by working to control and operate efficiently. The airline has its own ground control tower, so the Federal Aviation Administration can hand off all that ground control traffic to a separate tower.

"On top of that, the airport has put an emphasis on teamwork with the airlines that serve the airport ... and we work really closely with them on air-field efficiency," Gann said.

Although there's always room for improvement, the airport consistently ranks high, she said, adding that efficiency is the main focus for such a large airline hub.

"We get that all the time. We're No. 1," said Dave Korzep, superintendent of airport operations.

Email: madbrown@deseretnews.com, Twitter: Madeleine6

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