Hawaiian Airlines ranked No. 1 among North American airlines for on-time performance. (Dennis Oda/Honolulu Star-Bulletin via Associated Press)

Punctuality is a key performance indicator and marketing tool in the travel industry, especially for commercial flights. Each time a flight is delayed — or worse, canceled — airlines and airports lose customer loyalty. Additionally, delays can cost airlines billions of dollars in additional expenses.

This week, air-travel intelligence firm OAG released its end-of-year report, ranking airlines and airports based on on-time performance rates. Hawaiian Airlines ranked No. 1 among North American airlines for the second year in a row, with 89.11 percent of flights arriving within 15 minutes of their scheduled time. The airline was the only North American carrier to be featured in the top 20 airlines category, scoring ninth on the list.

Delta Air Lines was the highest-ranked major U.S. airline carrier on the list, finishing fourth among North American airlines, with 84.46 percent, followed by American Airlines, with 80.14 percent (seventh), and United Airlines, with 78.99 percent (ninth). Low-cost carriers Southwest and JetBlue also made the list, taking fifth and 10th place, respectively, along with two Canadian airlines (WestJet and Air Canada).

The average on-time performance rate of the top 10 North American carriers was 81.6 percent, a slight decrease from 2014. (The average takes into account the airline’s frequency of flights. For example, major carriers, including Delta, American and United, were weighted more heavily.)

AirBaltic took the top spot in the all-airlines category for the second year, with 94.39 percent. Including the No. 1 ranked, four airlines reached over 90 percent of flights arriving on time — Copa Airlines, Azul and Japan Airlines.

In the airport category, defined by departures and arrivals, Japan led the way, with Osaka International Airport rated as the top small airport, and Tokyo Haneda Airport as the top large airport.

Several U.S. airports are among the Top 10 in the large-airport category. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport placed the highest, at No. 4, with 85.27 percent; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport eighth (84.38 percent); and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport 10th (83.56 percent).

Chicago O’Hare International Airport, one of the world’s largest, was the most improved airport in North America and the eighth-most improved in the world, jumping from 71.4 percent to 78.3 percent in the past year.

To qualify for inclusion in the report, OAG requires airlines and airports to provide data for 80 percent or more of their scheduled flights. The company collected and analyzed more than 50 million flight records from 2015 to compile the report.

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