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Houston airport lands No. 1 spot for biggest drop in flight delays

Houston airport lands No. 1 spot for biggest drop in flight delays

Hobby Airport Terminal exterior
Expect on-time flights from Hobby this summer.

Good news for those flying the friendly skies this summer. A new study shows that Houston Hobby has improved more than any other major U.S. airport when it comes to seasonal flight delays.

CompareCards used a decade of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation to see which of the nation’s 50 busiest airports "tend to suffer the most frequent delays in the summertime." The site then ranked the best and worst airports for on-time summer travel and highlighted which airports saw the most improvements from one year to the next.

Houston Hobby, with a 10.9 percent improvement in on-time arrival rates from 2017 to 2018, ranks No. 1 for biggest improvements. The Texas-heavy list includes Dallas Love Field at No. 2, 8.2 percent improvement; Bush Intercontinental at No. 6, 3.5 percent improvement; and San Antonio International Airport at No. 9, 2.7 percent improvement.

Why the drastic improvements? CompareCards points to the thousands of flights canceled when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and the Texas coast in summer 2017. "Operations at both major Houston airports (Hobby and Bush) were heavily affected," the study says, noting that the disruption "led to Houston Hobby having the biggest drop in on-time arrivals in 2018’s Summer Flight Delay Study." 

Hobby bounced back with on-time flights in 2018, as did the other Texas airports that were impacted by the 2017 storm. Looking at summer travel over a 10-year period, Texas' busiest airports hover just below the 80 percent mark for on-time flights. IAH fares best in the state, at 78.6 percent, and Houston Hobby comes in at 75.9 percent.

The study warns that June is historically the worst month for flight delays across the nation, and the other summer months aren't much better. But that isn't affecting Honolulu, where almost 90 percent of flights are on time this season — the best rate in the nation.