Virgin Australia has taken the title of the nation’s most punctual airline for a second straight month, new figures show.
Virgin’s mainline operations led all the major carriers in December, with 86.9 per cent of its flights pushing back from the gate within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure time.
The airline’s on-time arrival rate was also the highest among all mainline carriers at 84.3 per cent.
The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) figures showed Qantas mainline was next best, with 84.5 per cent of departures and 83.1 per cent arrivals on-time.
Having trailed its domestic rival throughout 2013 and most of 2014, December marked the second straight month Virgin finished ahead of Qantas on the punctuality table for both departures and arrivals.
December was a bad month for Qantas’s subsidiary Jetstar, with the low-cost carrier’s level of on-time departures dropping 9.1 percentage points in the month to 74.2 per cent in December, compared with 83.3 per cent in November.
Jetstar’s arrival performance also took a tumble, sliding to 75 per cent in December, from 83.1 per cent in November. Put another way, one in four Jetstar flights reached the gate more than 15 minutes late in December.
The result left Jetstar fourth among all mainline carriers for on-time performance, behind third-placed Tigerair, which had an 81.8 per cent on-time departure rate and 79.5 per cent on-time arrival rate.
The last time Tigerair Australia had a better on-time performance than Jetstar was in December 2013.
Rex was Australia’s best regional carrier for on-time performance, with 82.2 per cent of departures within 15 minutes of schedule. Virgin Australia Regional was second at 83 per cent, followed by QantasLink at 79.5 per cent.