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The Boston Globe

Business

Leaving on time takes on fresh urgency for airlines

As passengers flip through magazines at the airport gate while waiting to board, a tightly orchestrated sequence of events is underway behind the scenes to prepare newly arrived planes for takeoff. Within a minute of landing, Alaska Airlines cabin doors are opening. JetBlue Airways executives are donning plastic gloves to help flight crews pick up trash, and American Airlines baggage handlers are tracking luggage using handheld devices.

Elsewhere, Southwest Airlines operations supervisors are poring over the timing of every flight, tweaking locations for crew changes and scheduled maintenance.

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