That still means nearly one out of six Delta flights are delayed. A number of factors can contribute to delays, including air traffic delays, weather and heavy traffic.
OAG, an airline data firm, said "travelers consistently value on-time performance as a significant factor when booking travel."
Delta is the dominant carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Its two biggest U.S. competitors, United and American, came in sixth and eighth, respectively, in on-time performance.
Delta's massive computer outage in August led to a meltdown of its operations and thousands of flight cancellations.
But it worked to recover and resume its regular schedule several days later.
Southwest Airlines ranked fifth among North American airlines, with 81 percent of its flights arriving on time in the OAG report. Dallas-based Southwest is the second-largest airline at the Atlanta airport.
Among major airports around the world, Atlanta ranked fourth for on-time performance, behind Tokyo Haneda, Sao Paulo Guarulhos and Detroit.
Atlanta had nearly 84.6 percent of airline flights operating on time last year, according to OAG. Hartsfield-Jackson's on-time rate is strongly influenced by Delta's performance, since Delta and its regional carriers make up close to 80 percent of the traffic at the Atlanta airport.
The federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics at the U.S. Department of Transportation also measures on-time performance of airlines and airports, but has not yet released its report on year-end 2016 performance.
OAG's ranking is based on its database of 54 million flight records, and it defines "on time" as less than 15 minutes later than the scheduled arrival or departure time.