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U.S. airlines are having trouble keeping flights on time this winter, and they are recording a sharp increase in long delays.
The Transportation Department said Tuesday that 42 flights in January were stuck on the ground so long that the airlines could face fines. That is the highest number of long ground delays in one month since February 2010, shortly before the rule allowing fines took effect.
Only 76 percent of flights on leading airlines arrived on time in January, down sharply from 81.3 percent a year earlier. The government defines on time as arriving within 14 minutes of schedule.
That followed a similar pattern in December, when delays were more common than a year earlier.
Hawaiian, Delta and American had the best on-time ratings. Virgin America had the worst.