DOT: 2023 Air Cancellation Rate Among Decade’s Lowest

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The U.S. aviation industry in 2023 had one of its lowest flight cancellation rates for most of the past decade, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

There were 16.3 million flights in 2023 and a cancellation rate of 1.2 percent, according to DOT, which added that it was “the busiest year for air travel ever.” The 2022 cancellation rate was 2.3 percent, per the agency.

For the holiday season—Dec. 17 to Jan. 1—the cancellation rate was 0.8 percent, per DOT, which is a far cry from the 8.2 percent reported for the same period in 2022.

DOT used preliminary Aviation System Performance Metrics for its data, showing cancellation rates from 2013 through 2023, minus data from 2020, which was the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic and also the year with the highest cancellation rate. 

BTN could not access past ASPM data to verify DOT’s numbers, and DOT did not respond to requests for clarification, but the prior years’ cancellation rates cited by the agency trended in the same direction as those found on the “airline on-time statistics and delay causes” page from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The BTS data showed a 2022 cancellation rate of 2.7 percent, the worst in the past 10 years with the exception of 2020’s 6 percent rate. The only other time in the past decade the cancellation rate was above 2 percent was in 2014, when BTS data showed it as 2.2 percent. The previous lowest year was 2016, at just under 1.2 percent. 

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