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US Airlines: Embry-Riddle Ranking Puts Virgin at Top for Third Year

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Apr 2015 02:58 PM

Virgin America ranked top among U.S. airlines for the third year in 2014, according to Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Airline Quality Rating report, which showed an overall decline in performance of U.S. airlines during 2014.

The report, which is in its 25th year, was released Monday. Only three of 12 U.S. airlines evaluated improved during 2014, the report said. They are: Hawaiian Airlines, ranked second, up from third; Delta, ranked third, up from fourth; and Southwest, ranked sixth, up from eighth. JetBlue fell to fourth from second in the ranking. Alaska Airlines maintained its fifth-place rank.

The study examined 12 airlines that carry at least 1 percent of nationwide passengers, down from 15 during the previous years because of mergers and consolidations.

“Airline mergers and consolidations are taking a systemic toll that is bad for consumers,” study co-researcher Brent Bowen said in a release. “Performance by the airlines is slipping while they claimed this would make them better.”

Bowen, dean of the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott, Arizona, campus, conducted the study along with Dean Headley, associate professor of marketing at the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University.

The report is based on four main areas: on-time arrivals, involuntary denied boardings, mishandled baggage, and a combination of 12 customer complaint categories.

“Delta is an excellent example of a merger that declined in performance and systematically has clawed its way back to a new high level of quality performance,” Bowen said. “This shows that if an airline commits to improving their AQR rating, they can do it.”

According to the study, 2013 was airlines’ best-ever year in overall performance.

Until this year, airlines had shown an upward trend in their overall performance during the past four years.

“It’s unfortunate, and we hope it’s not the beginning of a downward trend,” Bowen said, according to The Dallas Morning News.

While harsh winter weather may have played a part in the declining performance, Bowen said, airline management in the midst of consolidations is a more significant factor.

Here are the overall rankings of all airlines studied, with the previous year’s rankings in parenthesis.

1. Virgin America (1)
2. Hawaiian (3)
3. Delta (4)
4. JetBlue (2)
5. Alaska (5)
6. Southwest, includes AirTran (8)
7. American, includes US Airways (9)
8. Frontier (11)
9. United, includes Continental (12)
10. SkyWest (14)
11. ExpressJet (13)
12. Envoy/American Eagle (15)

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Virgin America ranked top among U.S. airlines for the third year in 2014, according to Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Airline Quality Rating report, which showed an overall decline in performance of U.S. airlines during 2014.
us, airlines, embry-riddle, ranking, virgin america
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2015-58-14
Tuesday, 14 Apr 2015 02:58 PM
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