Airline delays worsen across the country, not as bad in SLC

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A new report shows airline delays are twice as common as in 1990, and industry experts predict the problem will get worse.

The Brookings Institution also found more than 10 percent of flights arrive at least two hours late.

The report looks more favorably upon Salt Lake International Airport, which is listed among the best for on-time performance, along with Honolulu and San Jose.

Salt Lake is the strongest performer when it comes to on-time arrivals. The airport achieved an 86 percent rate last June. That's more than 7 percentage points above the national average. Honolulu and Detroit followed.

Salt Lake also rates second in the nation when it comes to on-time departures. Only Honolulu fared better in the study.

Travelers at the airport Thursday morning seemed to realize Salt Lake's airport fares better.

"You don't have any problem getting in or out of Salt Lake," Joanne Roberts said. "It's not a problem."

"Yeah, we've noticed that," said Reed Peterson. "We've flown into Denver, Atlanta - a lot of different places."

Nationally, experts believe the problem is the airline industry should be demanding better out of the Federal Aviation Administration and air traffic controllers.

"They've got the Stockholm Syndrome," Colorado-based analyst Mike Boyd said. "Until they demand better, it's going to get more and more congested."

Analysts also blame big airlines' reliance on hub-and-spoke networks that push flights into crowded hub airports. They fear as airlines add more flights in an improving economy, the problem will intensify.

Among the worst cities for delays listed in the report are New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta and San Francisco.


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