Bob Hope

A Southwest Airlines airplane takes off at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. The airline scored well in on-time departures. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer / August 5, 2011)

The four major airlines that fly out of Bob Hope Airport fared well for on-time departures compared to two other airports in the L.A. area, according to the latest information by a flight-tracking firm.

SkyWest, which operates under contract with other major airlines in Burbank, was the tardiest carrier at the airfield, reporting a higher-than-average number of excessively late departures, which means they were delayed by 44 minutes or more.

Southwest Airlines came in first during the last three months compared to Los Angeles International Airport and John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, according to Portland, Ore.-based FlightStats, which compiles information provided by airlines across the country and internationally, as well as from other sources such as the
Federal Aviation Administration.

Last month, 92.4% of Southwest's flights took off on time, while the percentage of on-time departures for Southwest was about 83.5% at John Wayne and 81.5% at LAX.

Southwest provides more flights at Bob Hope Airport than any other airline.

The key to keeping on-time departures high begins with scheduling, particularly the early flights, said Southwest spokeswoman Ashley Dillon.

“If you start off late in the morning, you're going to be late all day,” she said.

Southwest has maintained a company-wide effort to improve on-time performance for the past couple of years, Dillon said, adding that the goal is to have the best percentages in all cities the company serves.

Alaska Airlines ranked second in May and March, coming in at 94.7% and 92.3%, respectively. Sandwiched between in April, Alaska came out on top with 95.6%.

JetBlue Airways came in second all three months — 84.3% in May, 88.8% in April and 89.1% in March.

SkyWest, which operates flights as U.S. Airways, Delta, United and Alaska Airlines at Bob Hope Airport, scored well — higher than 80% — with on-time departures, but was higher than average for excessively long delays of 44 minutes or more.

While the percentage of excessive delays averaged around 4% for the other airlines, SkyWest's excessive delays ranged from 7% to 11.6% during the last three months.

SkyWest's percentages of excessive delays were also higher than average at John Wayne Airport.

Jessica Bowers, a spokeswoman for the airline, said the delays were often tied to weather problems in other cities, including San Francisco, where SkyWest has many flights.

Still, she added, the airline is proud of its on-time performance record in Burbank and pleased to serve the airfield, where it's operated since 1984.