DFW One of Nation’s Most Delayed Airports

DFW Airport
DFW Airport | Image by CaseyMartin/Shutterstock

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is one of the nation’s most delayed airports, ranking third behind a couple of smaller airports with fewer routes.

The travel website Places to Travel delved into the issue of airport delays by leveraging a dataset of more than 2 million flights compiled by the Bureau of Transportation. Its study calculated average delay times between January 2023 and February 2024 and ranked the top airports.

DFW Airport clocked an average delay time of 1 hour, 29 minutes, and 12 seconds, coming in behind Provo Airport, a regional airport in Utah, and Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida. In fact, three Florida airports made the top 10 in Places to Travel’s list.

With only two low-cost air carriers flying in and out, Provo saw an average delay time of 1 hour, 42 minutes, and 31 seconds across 2,194 delayed flights. In all, 40% of scheduled flights failed to arrive on time during the 13-month period.

In an email to Fox Business, Brian Torgersen, the director of Provo Airport, claimed that the airport’s air traffic was impacted by delays at other airports.

“These airlines that currently operate in Provo do not have spare aircraft, or flight crews, sitting in Provo to plug into the schedule during extended delays,” he wrote. “Aside from the first flights of the day, flights departing from Provo cannot leave until the aircraft arrives from its previous destinations, accruing delay throughout the day at every previous stop.”

Orlando Sanford ranked second with an average delay time of 1 hour, 34 minutes, and 53 seconds across 2,766 delayed flights.

The airport saw a two-plane collision earlier this year in which a training flight that was landing struck another aircraft that was parked on the tarmac. The parked single-engine plane was empty at the time, and none of the three individuals on the training flight were injured. Near misses are just one of many issues currently plaguing the aviation industry amid criticism of a purported emphasis on “diversity, equity, and inclusion” initiatives.

Looking at DFW, which serves as a hub for American Airlines, the study period revealed that the airport saw the highest number of delayed flights of any other airport in the top 10 of Places to Travel’s ranking — a total of 66,105, more than 21% of its entire flight schedule.

In a statement to Business Traveler USA, Jason Wilson, CEO of Places to Travel, noted how airport size did not necessarily impact the number of delayed flights.

“However, the findings do still show that a massive number of flights are delayed, resulting in traveler stress and potential missed connections, among other consequences, and the air travel infrastructure needs to urgently adapt to handle the massive volumes of passengers to rectify this,” he said.

The study found that passengers collectively lost 2,100,140 hours and 43 minutes due to delays during the 13 months analyzed.

The Bureau of Transportation data on national airports during the studied period shows that the most common cause of reported delays was aircraft arriving late, accounting for 7.3%.

Air carrier delays, which include maintenance or crew problems, followed closely, representing 6.68% of all delays. Extreme weather accounted for just 0.71% of delays in that 13-month stretch. However, weather events were included in National Aviation System (NAS) delays, which were behind 5.28% of flight delays.

NAS airspace is administered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“Our job is to get you to your destination safely and efficiently,” the FAA site reads. “This summer will see more planes in the skies, frequent bad weather, and increased use of the nation’s airspace. We are continuously working to address these challenges.”

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