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Regional Express, QantasLink top on-time honours for September

written by australianaviation.com.au | October 28, 2019

QantasLink and Regional Express were the most punctual in September. (Seth Jaworski)
QantasLink and Regional Express were the most punctual in September. (Seth Jaworski)

QantasLink and Regional Express (Rex) had the best records for punctuality among Australia’s domestic carriers in September, figures show.

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) monthly report said QantasLink had 82.3 per cent of its flights arrive on schedule in September.

This was ahead of Rex on 80.5 per cent, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) on 75.6 per cent and Qantas on 75.1 per cent.

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

Meanwhile, Rex was the most punctual carrier for departures in September at 84.2 per cent, with QantasLink in second place at 82.9 per cent and VARA in third place at 80.5 per cent.


Regional operators were also best in terms of cancellations – VARA had the lowest percentage of its flights cancelled at 0.6 per cent, compared with Rex on 0.9 per cent and QantasLink at 1.6 per cent.

At the other end of the table was Tigerair Australia, which had the lowest percentage of on-time arrivals and departures at 63 per cent and 66.3 per cent, respectively. It also recorded the highest cancellation rate at 3.6 per cent.

The Virgin Australia-owned low-cost carrier (LCC), which is in the process of transitioning its fleet from Airbus A320s to Boeing 737-800s, has trailed all domestic carriers in terms of punctuality for arrivals and departures since October 2018.

The BITRE report noted the on-time arrivals rate for all routes of 76.2 per cent in September was lower than the long-term average performance of 82.3 per cent.

Similarly, September’s 78.4 per cent of on-time departures trailed the long-term average of 83.7 per cent.

In terms of specific routes, flights between Alice Springs and Darwin in the Northern Territory had the highest percentage of on-time arrivals in September, with Alice Springs-Darwin at 96.3 per cent and Darwin-Alice Springs at 95.1 per cent. Cairns-Townsville was third at 93.7 per cent.

Darwin-Alice Springs also topped the list of on-time departures at 95.1 per cent, followed by Gold Coast-Adelaide at 93.2 per cent and Adelaide-Port Lincoln at 92.9 per cent.

On Australia’s busiest route between Melbourne and Sydney, about 68 per cent of all flights arrived on time, with about 74 per cent of departures pushing back from the gate within 15 minutes of schedule.

Regional ports dominated the top 10 list of airports for on-time performance, with Emerald (90.8 per cent), Gladstone (90.4 per cent) and Port Lincoln (90 per cent) best for arrivals.

Meanwhile, Bundaberg topped the list of airport on-time departures at 92.7 per cent, ahead of Mt Isa (90.8 per cent) and Port Lincoln (90.3 per cent).

No capital city airport made the top 10 for punctuality in September.

BITRE noted in its monthly report there was some variance between the airlines in terms of data collection.

Jetstar and Qantas jet services used Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) to electronically measure performance.

Meanwhile, Regional Express, Tigerair Australia, Virgin Australia, VARA and the Qantas non-jet fleet collected data manually from pilots, gate agents and/or ground crew.

On-time performance for September

Sectors Arrivals on time Departures on time Cancellations
Scheduled Flown No. % No. % No. %
Jetstar 7150 6944 5008 72.1 4938 71.1 203 2.9
Qantas 9240 8937 6715 75.1 7000 78.3 303 3.3
QantasLink 10252 10090 8305 82.3 8367 82.9 162 1.6
Regional Express 6326 6272 5047 80.5 5283 84.2 54 0.9
Tigerair Australia 2390 2303 1452 63.0 1527 66.3 87 3.6
Virgin Australia 11660 11412 8515 74.6 8900 78.0 248 2.1
Virgin Australia Regional Airlines 784 779 589 75.6 627 80.5 5 0.6
All Airlines 47802 46737 35631 76.2 36642 78.4 1065 2.2
All Qantas designated 19492 19027 15020 78.9 15367 80.8 465 2.4
All Virgin Australia designated 12444 12191 9104 74.7 9527 78.1 253 2.0

Source: BITRE



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