Qantas and Jetstar were the best and second-best major domestic airlines for on-time performance in August, while Virgin Australia had the highest number of cancellations and its low-cost offshoot Tigerair Australia registered some improvement.
However, the figures from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics show Regional Express (Rex) was Australia’s most punctual domestic airline for departures in August, with 87.1 per cent departing on-time.
Among the major domestic network carriers, Qantas topped all airlines with 87 per cent of its scheduled flights departing on time and 85.9 per cent arriving on-time.
The BITRE report define a flight as on-time if it departs or arrives the gate within 15 minutes of schedule.
“We have been the most on-time major domestic airline for five years in a row, and that’s because all our employees are focused on safety, reliability and punctuality,” Qantas Domestic chief executive Lyell Strambi said in a statement.
Qantas’s low-cost subsidiary Jetstar was the next best performer, with an on-time percentage of 82 per cent for departures and 83.8 per cent for arrivals. Jetstar said its on-time departures have been above 80 per cent for every month in 2014.
“We’ve worked hard to improve punctuality this year while still operating the tight schedule that is key to lower fares,” Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive David Hall said.
“During the past two months we’ve also beaten the second largest premium carrier for both on time departures and arrivals.”
As Hall alluded to, Jetstar has beaten Virgin for on-time performance in July and August.
In August, Virgin had 80.4 per cent of its scheduled flight depart on time, while 80.7 per cent arrived at the gate on-time.
Also, Virgin had the highest percentage of cancellations at 3.4 per cent. The airline’s cancellation rate was highest on some of Australia’s busiest routes, such as Sydney-Melbourne (7.9 per cent and 7.6 per cent in the other direction), Brisbane-Melbourne (6.5 per cent and 7.5 per cent the other way) and Brisbane-Sydney (4.4 per cent and 4.8 per cent in reverse).
The rates were way above the industry average of 1.3 per cent in August.
Tigerair was Australia’s least punctual airline – a position it has held for all of calendar 2014 – with just 76.5 per cent of flights departing within 15 minutes of schedule and 73.9 per cent arriving on-time. However, the airline’s punctuality has improved for the past two months.