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Airport spokesman downplays flight delay study

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The busiest airport in West Virginia ranks second in the nation among states with the longest weather-related delays for commercial airline flights, with an average of 79 minutes per delay, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, use this link to check most reccent flight delays here.

Stratos Jet Charters Inc. commissioned the study. According to the data, flights to Yeager Airport in Charleston from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were delayed an average of 139 times per a year, while flights from Yeager to Chicago’s O’Hare International were delayed about 121 times per year.

But Mike Plante, Yeager’s spokesman, said the study was “a bit disingenuous” and wasn’t presented properly.

“They were selectively choosing data and presenting it in the context to favor folks using charter aircraft,” he said. “Realizing the purpose of the study was not so much to inform as to motivate people to use their product.”

Plante said Yeager is at the national average, in terms of delays for departures, and just a percentage point under for arrivals.

“So 8 out of 10 times your plane is going to be on time here. I think that helps put it in proper perspective,” he said.

“Most of our delays are 15 minutes or less,” he added.

The study found Maine had the most delays in the nation with an average of 84 minutes. Idaho was in third place, behind West Virginia, with 74-minute delays.

Specifically, the most weather-related delays were flights from South Bend International Airport in Indiana to O’Hare International with about 186 delays per year.

The longest delays, of over 15 minutes, were in New York, Vermont, Iowa, Wyoming and New Jersey.

“No one likes to be delayed,” Plante said. “We strive to everything we can, but again, the vast majority of these delays are not because of airport problems. They’re because of weather and occasionally mechanical problems.”

The study also said Yeager ranked 10th in the nation as a destination airport and 19th in the nation among airports from which flights originated for the average number of weather delays.

There were more than 3.9 million delayed flights nationwide from Jan. through Sept. 2015, according to the report.

To view the study, click here.

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