ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines' regional subsidiary Comair had the worst on-time performance in July among airlines surveyed by the Transportation Department, according to government data released Wednesday.

But overall, the nation's airlines were on time more often in July compared to a year ago, and customers filed fewer complaints about their baggage, DOT said.

The DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics said the 19 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 75.7 percent in July, higher than both July 2007's 69.8 percent and June 2008's 70.8 percent.

The agency also said that the nation's carriers canceled 1.7 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in July, lower than both the 2.1 percent cancellation rate of July 2007 and the 1.8 percent rate posted in June of this year.

In July, 12,475 flights originated at the Salt Lake City International Airport, and 12,476 flights were destined for Salt Lake City International Airport. Among the flights that originated in Salt Lake City, 87.7 percent were on time. Among the flights that were destined for Salt Lake City, 87.6 percent of the flights were on time, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

While the average departure-to-take-off time for on-time flights originating in Salt Lake City was 22.6 minutes, for late flights it was 68.22 minutes.

Comair, based in Erlanger, Ky., had the worst national on-time arrival rate, at 63.31 percent. JetBlue Airways was next at 64.6 percent. UAL Corp.'s United Airlines was third worst at 68.25 percent and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, which had the worst on-time performance in June, was fourth from the bottom in July, at 69.51 percent.

Regional carrier Pinnacle Airlines had the best on-time rate in July, at 85.6 percent, according to the government's data.

Comair spokesman Jeff Pugh said in a statement that the airline has been steadily improving its performance over the years, though it continues to struggle with regional operational issues in the Northeast.

"Our focus continues to be on improving and controlling what we can," he said.

Among legacy carriers, Northwest Airlines Corp. had the best on-time performance in July compared to a year ago, at 79.51 percent, good for seventh best overall. Among discount carriers, Southwest Airlines was best, at 83.05 percent, good for third best overall.


Contributing: Laura Hancock, Deseret News.