LONDON – In a report released by the U.S Department of Transportation (DoT) today, U.S traffic numbers are growing slowly but steadily in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DoT released its Air Travel Consumer report yesterday, which examined traffic numbers for August of this year.

The numbers stated that marketing network carriers reported around 398,470 scheduled domestic flights, which is up from 370,859 recorded in July 2020.

The figure, however, is still down from 717,456 recorded in August of last year, with the DoT stating that 1.1% of August 2020 flights were cancelled.

With the cancellations not taken into account, 394,143 flights were scheduled for August of this year, which is still up from 367,933 in July 2020 and exceeds the all-time monthly low of 180,151 recorded in May of this year.

Photo: Department of Transportation

The Best Attendance


The DoT reported the top carriers that had the best on-time arrival rates based on Highest Marketing Carrier and Lowest Marketing Carrier.

  • Highest Marketing Carrier:
    • Southwest Airlines (WN) – 93.9%
    • Delta Air Lines (DL) – 91.8%
    • Spirit Airlines (NK) – 91.3%
  • Lowest Marketing Carrier:
    • Allegiant Air (G4) – 83.6%
    • Frontier Airlines (F9) – 87.8%
    • JetBlue Airways (B6) – 87.4%

The DoT also used such specifications to determine this through the percentage of cancelled flights instigated by U.S carriers.

  • Lowest Marketing Carrier:
    • Delta Air Lines – 0.4%
    • Spirit Airlines – 0.5%
    • American Airlines (AA) – 0.6%
  • Highest Marketing Carrier:
    • Hawaiian Airlines (HA) – 9.0%
    • Allegiant Air – 3.0%
    • JetBlue Airways – 2.9%
Photo: Business Insider

Disgruntled During a Pandemic?


Some other eye-opening statistics related to the intense increases in complaints recorded by the DoT, with 7,657 complaints received in August 2020, which is up by 347% from 1,713 filed in the same period last year.

However, on the more positive note, of that 7,657 figures, 6,976 concerned refunds requested of passengers, meaning that such refunds could be implemented more positively.

In terms of treatment of disabled passengers, the DoT received 67 complaints, which is down from 109 in August 2019, but is up from 48 received in July 2020, hinting that this figure is creeping up.

Photo: ABC News

So What Can We Determine From This?


Across the board, flights are predominantly running, with HA being the outlier ever so slightly. More flights are operating during this pandemic, especially with the U.S being heavily hit by this virus. At the time of writing, there have been over 11 million confirmed cases of the virus.

Airline attendance is also very punctual too, which is promising, but this could be because of flights not being necessarily as full as they were in 2019.

Complaints is something that airlines will need to tackle and make a more positive impact on, as more precautions and care will be needed during a global pandemic.

Either way, it is good news that the industry is progressing, but as long as such complaints are being dealt with, then we are seeing the gradual return to normal that aviation has been vying for a while.


Featured Image: Aircraft taking off. Photo Credit: Transport Topics.