Virgin Australia led all carriers for domestic punctuality in calendar 2016, government figures show.
The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) report found Virgin came out on top for both on-time arrivals and departures in 2016, edging out rival Qantas.
Virgin achieved an 86.7 per cent on-time arrivals rate in 2016, compared with 86.4 per cent for Qantas and 85 per cent for QantasLink.
Meanwhile, Virgin also led the pack for on-time departures, with 88.4 per cent of its flights pushing back from the gate within 15 minutes of schedule.
This was ahead of Qantas at 88.0 per cent and Regional Express at 87.5 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.
Among the low-cost carriers, Tigerair Australia (81.6 per cent) was ahead of Jetstar (76.2 per cent) for on-time arrivals in 2016.
The Virgin-owned Tigerair also topped Qantas’s Jetstar in terms of departures, with 84.6 per cent of its flights pushing back from the gate within 15 minutes of schedule compared with 78.2 per cent for Jetstar.
Tigerair led Jetstar in terms of punctuality for 11 of the 12 months in 2016.
The annual BITRE report also noted Rex had the lowest percentage of cancellations in the month at 0.6 per cent – it flew 73,792 of 74,239 scheduled flights – followed by Tigerair at 0.9 per cent.
At the other end of the scale, Virgin and Jetstar had the highest percentage of cancellations at 1.9 per cent.
The figures showed the city-pair with the best on-time arrivals was interstate route from Melbourne to Townsville, where 94.1 per cent of flights touched down within 15 minutes of schedule. Meanwhile the best city-pair for departures was Adelaide-Alice Springs with 95.2 per cent of flights taking off on time.
On-time arrivals for calendar 2016 (figure in brackets indicates percentage point change from calendar 2015)
Virgin 86.7% (-2.6)
Qantas 86.4% (-2.2)
QantasLink 85.0% (-0.2)
Rex 84.4% (-0.9)
Virgin Australia Regional 84.3% (+0.1)
Tigerair 81.6% (-1.4)
Jetstar 76.2% (-4.1)
Virgin network 88.4 86.6% (-1.8)
Qantas network 86.9 85.7% (-1.2)
On-time departures for calendar 2016 (figure in brackets indicates percentage point change from calendar 2015)
Virgin 88.4% (-2.4)
Qantas 88.0% (-1.6)
Rex 87.5% (-0.7)
Virgin Australia Regional 86.8% (+1.1)
QantasLink 86.7 85.7% (-1.0)
Tigerair 84.6 83.1% (-1.5)
Jetstar 78.2 73.3% (-4.9)
Virgin network 88.3% (-1.5)
Qantas network 86.8% (-1.3)