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United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL), Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL) & More: How Do They Stack Up?

On April 8, Purdue University and Wichita State University published the annual national Airline Quality Rating (AQR), which asses the airline quality on several performance criteria. It features U.S Airlines that are required to report performance by virtue of having at least 1% of domestic scheduled-service passenger revenue during the year. The Airline Quality Rating 2013 is the 23rd edition of the report and its scores are based on 15 elements in four major areas that focus on airline performance aspects important to consumers over 2012. The report is conducted by Dr. Dean Headley, professor at Wichita State University and Dr. Brent Bowen, professor at Purdue University and includes 14 airlines among which are United Airlines owned by United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL), Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL), or Frontier Airlines owned by Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:RJET).

United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL)

According to the report, the scores on the AQR are almost the same in 2012 as in 2011, but declines were registered in two of the four performance areas. The on-time arrival percentage improved in 2012 to 81.8% versus 80.0% a year earlier. If we take for example the results for United Airlines, owned by United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL), the on-time arrival performance, dropped to 77.4% in 2012, from 80.2% a year earlier,while Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) registered an improvement to 86.5% from 82.3% in 2011.

Mishandled baggage rates increased to 3.07 per 1,000 passengers, compared to 3.35 in 2011. Delta Airlines succeeded in improving this rate, which fell to 2.10 in 2012, from 2.66. United Airlines (which includes also data for United and Continental Airlines, which are both part of United Continental Holdings, Inc (NYSE:UAL))had an increase to 3.87 from 3.66 a year earlier.

But at the same time, the rate involuntary denied boardings grew to 0.97 per 10,000 passengers, from 0.78 in 2011 and consumer complaint rates rose to 1.43 per 100,000 passengers from 1.19 per 100,000 passengers in 2011. For United Continental Holdings, Inc (NYSE:UAL)’s United Airlines the rate of complaints almost doubled to 4.24 in 2012, from 2.21, while Delta reduced this rate to 0.73 from 1.23 in 2011.

Overall, for 14 carriers featured in the report, the AQR score for the industry fell to -1.11 in 2012, from 1.08 a year earlier. “With a mixed bag of gains and losses across the 14 carriers rated, the nearly identical AQR score for the industry is a positive sign. The maintenance of the AQR score at a near record low level during difficult economic times speaks well of the industry,” the report said.

We would like to present you the whole list of carriers included in the report, together with their AQR score in the 2013 report:

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