U.S. airlines started the year showing a slight improvement in keeping flights on time.

The Transportation Department said Thursday that 79.6 percent of flights in January arrived within 14 minutes of schedule, compared with 76 percent in the same month last year.

But January’s performance was worse than December, when 80.3 percent of flights arrived on time.

Alaska Airlines posted the best on-time rating at 88.9 percent, while JetBlue Airways was last at 65.8 percent.

Twelve domestic flights sat on the ground at least three hours, long enough to risk fines by the government. Delta and JetBlue had three each.

Airlines canceled 3 percent of domestic flights in January, up from 2 percent a year earlier and 1.2 percent in December.

The highest cancellation rates were on regional carriers that operate smaller planes on flights for the major carriers. PSA Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines, canceled 7 percent of its flights, while Delta subsidiary Endeavor Air scrapped 6.1 percent.

HERE ARE THE GOVERNMENT’S rankings of the leading U.S. airlines and their on-time performance for January. The federal government counts a flight as on time if it arrives no more than 14 minutes behind schedule.

1. Alaska Airlines, 88.9 percent

2. Hawaiian Airlines, 88.3 percent

3. United Airlines, 84.7 percent

4. Delta Air Lines 84.3 percent

5. Spirit Airlines, 82.9 percent

6. Virgin America, 82.5 percent

7. American Airlines, 82.5 percent

8. Southwest Airlines, 81.8 percent

9. Allegiant Air, 78.6 percent

10. Mesa Airlines, 76.9 percent

11. Endeavor Air, 76.5 percent
12. Republic Airlines, 76.2 percent

13. SkyWest Airlines, 75.3 percent

14. Frontier Airlines, 74.9 percent

15. Envoy Air, 74.7 percent

16. ExpressJet, 74.6 percent

17. PSA, 70.2 percent

18. JetBlue Airways, 65.8 percent

Total for all covered airlines: 79.6 percent

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

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