Q. On-Time Reporting for the Downed Flights on September 11, 2001
According to BTS Office of Airline Information, there were massive flight disruptions and disarray among the airlines’ reporting staff due to the terrorist attacks of 9-11, and a lack of specific reporting instructions or guidance that dealt with this unprecedented event. When the 9-11 flights were downed, American and United, the two airlines affected that day, reacted differently when reporting their on-time data for the month of September 2001. United reported its downed flights whereas American did not report its two downed aircraft. Subsequently, the Assistant Director-Airline Information directed that a note be placed in the public Transtats On-Time application to indicate the facts regarding the downed aircraft. This note was deemed sufficient for the historical event and American was not directed to revise its reporting.
After the incident, carriers were given guidance on how to handle such instances in the future. If any airline is ever affected by a similar event (downed aircraft) it will report the flight departure as required and treat it as a diverted flight, as it is; there should be no future confusion in regards the reporting of a downed aircraft.
For more information on airline on-time performance data,