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Inspector General: Clarify Policy on Aircraft Arrival

Airlines use on-time arrival statistics as a major marketing tool. We undertook an audit of aircraft arrival data after it was alleged that two airlines were submitting falsified arrival data to the Department of Transportation. While we found no significant evidence of falsification, OIG noted that various airlines used different measures to establish arrival times. As a result, we suggested the Department set a single definition for gate arrival. We also recommended that the Department disclose in its public report whether an automated or a manual system is used by each airline to record arrival times; manual recording gives airlines greater leeway to manipulate arrival data. The Department agreed to do it. Further, the Department directed airlines to use the setting of an aircraftĂ­s parking brake as the standard measure for gate arrival.