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Salt Lake City airport tops in on-time flights...again

Michael Gonda, Deseret News -- Salt Lake City International Airport remains the best airport in the country for on-time travel, according to an article this month in Travel + Leisure Magazine.

The publication ranked the best and worst airports for on-time performance using data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics from April 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009.

For a second time, Salt Lake International had the best record.

It found that only 12 percent of flights departing Salt Lake City were delayed more than 15 minutes - up two percentage points from the previous year.

Airport spokeswoman Barbara Gann was not surprised at the findings.

"Typically we run in the top five for on-time performance in the nation," Gann said.

She attributed the punctuality largely to the weather.

"Weather is probably the thing that most impacts on-time performance," Gann said. "We didn't have any severe weather in any season this year, including winter storms or summer thunderstorms."

Delta Air Lines, which operates a hub in the Salt Lake airport, also places a heavy emphasis on punctuality, she said.

To expedite things on the ground, the airline operates its own control tower on-site to guide planes prior to taking off and after landing.

"It takes that big piece of traffic away from the main tower," Gann said.

Newark Airport, just outside of New York City, had the worst record, with 30 percent of departing flights delayed more than 15 minutes.

The airport was hardly alone. The two other major airports that service New York City joined Newark in the top four most-delayed airports.