Australia’s carriers improve punctuality in 2014/15

written by | September 3, 2015
Australia's domestic carriers at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)
Australia’s domestic carriers at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)

Australia’s major carriers posted significant improvements in punctuality during the 12 months to June 2015, figures show.

The overall figures from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) showed 86.5 per cent of domestic flights arrived on time in 2014/15, while 85.1 per cent of flight arrived at the gate on time.

The equivalent figures for 2013/14 were 81.9 per cent for arrivals and 83.8 per cent for departures.


The BITRE report defines a flight as on time if it arrives or departs within 15 minutes of schedule.

The biggest improver of 2014/15 was Tigeair Australia, which lifted its on-time departures to 81.8 per cent, from 75.1 per cent the prior year. Similarly, Tigerair’s on time arrivals rose to 79.3 per cent, from 71.1 per cent.

And the Virgin Australia-owned low-cost carrier also managed to reduce its cancellation rate to 0.9 per cent, from 2.2 per cent the prior year.

Tigerair chief executive Rob Sharp told the September issue of Australian Aviation the commercial agreement with Sydney Airport that was struck in August 2014 played a big role in improving the airline’s punctuality.


The deal secured priority access to departure gates and virtually eliminated passenger bussing to remote stands and also led to increased Tigerair terminal signage and the installation of self-service checkin kiosks to improve passenger flows.

“That managed to address a lot of our first wave on-time performance issues out of Sydney,” Sharp said.

“That was a big help but a lot of it is around operational focus and operational consistency. This has not been an overnight thing, this has been two years of work and we have now got a very reliable operation.

“The metrics are very pleasing and heading in the right direction.

Qantas was the most punctual airline in 2014/15, with Virgin close behind in second place.

The two carriers have been battling for on-time honours in recent times given the importance placed on punctuality for all travellers and especially the lucrative corporate and government travel market. The two swapped the lead on several occasions during 2014/15.

Some 87.2 per cent of Qantas mainline flights arrived within 15 minutes of schedule, with 88.3 leaving the departure gate on time.

Virgin was at 86.8 per cent for on time arrivals and 88.2 per cent for departures.

However, the BITRE report showed the total Virgin network, comprising Virgin mainline and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, had a better on-time performance than the combined Qantas/QantasLink network.

On-time departures for 2014/15 (figure in brackets 2013/14 result)
Qantas 88.3% (87.5%)
Virgin 88.2% (83.8%)
Rex 88.2% (88.6%)
QantasLink 86.2% (82.3%)
Virgin Australia Regional 86.5% (84.8%)
Jetstar 82.0% (78.8%)
Tigerair 81.8% (75.1%)

Virgin network 87.9% (previous year not available)
Qantas network 87.2% (previous year not available)

On-time arrivals for 2014/15 (figure in brackets 2013/14 result)
Qantas 87.2% (86.4%)
Virgin 86.8% (81.7%)
Rex 85.0% (85.8%)
Virgin Australia Regional 84.8% (82.3%)
QantasLink 84.1% (78.7%)
Jetstar 82.9% (79.5%)
Tigerair 79.3% (71.1%)

Virgin network 86.4% (previous year not available)
Qantas network 85.6% (previous year not available)

(Source: BITRE)

(Read more about Tigerair Australia in the September issue of Australian Aviation, on sale now.)

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  • Axel


    Statistics are great but meaningless without some understanding what you are measuring and how. Punctuality might be defined “arrival within half an hour”. So what is it your are saying here?

    My personal feeling about flight punctuality is a lot worse than what above figures are indicating. Most my flights with Qantas in the mornings are delayed. They often still get me in time to Sydney. The flight time to Sydney is yet another topic. Why are flights taking longer than 40 years ago?

    There is lots of room for improvement.

  • Raymond


    Axel, if you care to read the article properly, it clearly says: “The BITRE report defines a flight as on time if it arrives or departs within 15 minutes of schedule.”

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