Qantas led all carriers for domestic punctuality in February, government figures show.
The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) report found Qantas edged out Virgin Australia for on-time arrivals for a second straight month in February.
Qantas achieved an 87.6 per cent on-time arrivals rate in February, ahead of Virgin Australia at 85.9 per cent and QantasLink at 84.8 per cent.
Meanwhile, Qantas leapfrogged Virgin Australia for on-time departure honours in February, with 89.6 per cent of its flights pushing back from the gate within 15 minutes of schedule.
Virgin Australia was next best at 87.6 per cent, followed by QantasLink at 85.7 per cent.
The battle for passengers has led to a strong emphasis on punctuality for airlines in an effort to attract and retain customers, particularly those in the lucrative corporate and government travel sector.
All Australian carriers suffered a decline in punctuality in February.
Tigerair Australia suffered an 11.3 percentage point fall in on-time arrivals to 67.7 per cent in February compared with the previous month, while Regional Express’ (Rex) arrivals rate was 9.8 percentage points lower at 79.4 per cent.
The fall in Tigerair’s punctuality allowed Jetstar to top its LCC rival in February.
The BITRE report noted Rex had the lowest percentage of cancellations in the month at 0.6 per cent – it flew 5,687 of 5,719 scheduled flights – followed by Qantas at 1.0 per cent.
At the other end of the scale, QantasLink and Virgin Australia had the highest percentage of cancellations at 2.6 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively.
The figures showed the city-pair with the best on-time performance was the interstate route between Adelaide and Alice Springs, where 97.5 per cent of flights arrived and departed within 15 minutes of schedule.
Only one capital city airport made the list of top 10 airports for departures, with Brisbane in 10th position at 88.7 per cent. There were no capital city airports in the list of top 10 airports for arrivals.
The BITRE report said Jetstar and Qantas jet aircraft used ACARS (Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System) to electronically measure on-time performance, while Regional Express, Tigerair Australia, Virgin Australia, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines and Qantas’s non-jet fleet recorded on-time performance manually using records from pilots, gate agents and/or ground crews.
On-time arrivals for February 2017
Qantas 87.6% (-4.1)
Virgin 85.9% (-5.7)
QantasLink 84.8% (-1.3)
Virgin Australia Regional 81.7% (-8.6)
Rex 79.4% (-9.8)
Jetstar 75.8% (-5.4)
Tigerair 67.7% (-11.3)
Qantas network 86.1 (-2.6)
Virgin network 85.7 (-5.9)
Figures in brackets indicates percentage point change from previous month)
On-time departures for February 2017
Qantas 89.6% (-1.9)
Virgin 87.6% (-4.1)
QantasLink 85.7 (-0.9)
Virgin Australia Regional 83.8% (-8.3)
Rex 83.5% (-8.6)
Jetstar 73.6 (-2.8)
Tigerair 67.0 (-10.5)
Qantas network 87.5% (-1.4)
Virgin network 87.4% (-4.3)
Figures in brackets indicates percentage point change from previous month