Qantas has backed up recent statements that its service is improving after new data revealed its on-time departures leapt from 45 per cent in July to 62 per cent in August.
It follows Qantas chairman Richard Goyder last week writing that the airline’s problems were being mirrored worldwide, and arguing that mainstream media were not reporting its improvements.
In 2022, the Flying Kangaroo has faced a string of problems, including huge delays at Easter, hours-long call wait times, and even a revelation that the cabin crew of a Qantas A330 were made to sleep across seats in economy. Across the industry, school holidays have led to the worst delays on record in April, June and July.
However, new BITRE data released on Wednesday by the Department of Transport appears to back up internal data released by Qantas, showing its performance is slowly recovering.
Qantas on-time arrivals increased from 47 per cent to 62 per cent, while cancellations dipped from 5.6 per cent to 4.7 per cent.
Across the entire industry in August, on-time arrivals stood at 68.5 per cent and departures at 68.8 per cent, compared to 55 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively in July.
However, the report warned that the figures are still “significantly lower” than the long-term performance, including pre-COVID data.
“Virgin Australia achieved the highest on-time arrivals among the major domestic airlines at 69.4 per cent followed by Qantas at 62.4 per cent and Jetstar at 59.6 per cent,” the report revealed. Of the regional airlines, Rex Airlines recorded 79.0 per cent for on-time arrivals, followed by QantasLink at 70.8 per cent and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines at 66.0 per cent.
“Virgin Australia achieved the highest level of on-time departures among the major domestic airlines for August 2022 at 69.7 per cent, followed by Qantas at 61.8 per cent and Jetstar at 56.9 per cent. Of the regional airlines, Rex Airlines recorded 82.2 per cent for on-time departures, followed by QantasLink at 71.2 per cent and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines at 64.9 per cent.
“Virgin Australia Regional Airlines recorded the highest percentage of cancellations (at 6.9 per cent) during the month, followed by Jetstar (at 5.4 per cent), Qantas (at 4.7 per cent), QantasLink (at 3.2 per cent), Virgin Australia (at 2.2 per cent) and Rex Airlines (at 0.8 per cent).”
The news comes after Qantas chairman Goyder mounted a strong defence of both Qantas executives and CEO Alan Joyce after recent criticisms.
Writing in The Australian Financial Review, Goyder hailed his senior staff for steering the airline through a pandemic that “sent other airlines and their creditors packing”.
The 900-word opinion piece argued most aviation companies globally are grappling with the same problems as Qantas.
“This is what happens when you shut down an entire sector for more than two years,” he wrote. “Companies make deep cuts to survive. Skilled people walk away because the uncertainty seems endless.”
He said Qantas is now well on its way to fixing its problems, quipping, “If you haven’t heard this, it may be because the data showing the improvement received far less media attention than stories showing how bad things got.
“In the meantime, the corporate obituary writers have been busy. Their analysis has (mostly) been unencumbered by what’s happening at other airlines, or that Qantas’ performance has turned around.”