Rex was the top-performing airline for flights departing on time in September — with Jetstar again the worst.
New data released by the Department of Transport also revealed Jetstar’s cancellation rate almost doubled to 9.5 per cent — nearly five times greater than the long-term industry average of just 2.1 per cent.
Overall, on-time performance across all major airlines averaged 68.3 per cent for on-time arrivals and 67.7 per cent for on-time departures. That’s a huge improvement compared to Australia’s winter months but “significantly lower” than the long-term average of more than 80 per cent.
Across the industry, school holidays combined with staff shortages and pandemic isolation led to the worst delays on record in April, June, and July.
- Rex Airlines — 73.3 per cent
- QantasLink — 71.5 per cent
- Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) — 69.7 per cent
- Virgin Australia — 68.1 per cent
- Qantas — 66.1 per cent
- Jetstar — 60.4 per cent
- Rex Airlines — 75.1 per cent
- QantasLink — 71.9 per cent
- VARA — 67.6 per cent
- Virgin Australia — 66.7 per cent
- Qantas — 65.1 per cent
- Jetstar — 57.5 per cent
- Virgin Australia — 1.9 per cent
- Rex Airlines — 2.3 per cent
- QantasLink — 2.4 per cent
- Qantas — 2.5 per cent
- VARA — 4.6 per cent
- Jetstar — 9.5 per cent
The best and worst-performing airlines are shown above, while the worst-performing routes are ranked below. All data is for September 2022.
Jetstar’s poor performance came after it cancelled numerous Bali flights following a number of freak events grounding its 787s, including “multiple” lightning and bird strikes.
The airline said in response it was “well documented” that September was a “particularly challenging month for operations”.
“A number of unexpected engineering issues impacted our fleet, causing significant disruptions across our network, and we sincerely apologise to customers whose holidays were impacted. Our teams have been working hard to get all the aircraft back in the air, and we’re pleased that our operations have stabilised significantly in October, with further improvements expected in November.”
Qantas, meanwhile, continued its improvement first seen in August for on-time departures after dipping to a low of just 45 per cent in July. It said recently the turnaround was due to both keeping capacity in reserve for difficult periods and investing in training and recruiting staff.
In total, it said it would invest $200 million for the remainder of the financial year to roster additional crew, train new recruits and pay for overtime in contact centres. It also said its new “conservative’ approach to scheduling means 20 per cent of its available seats will be left in reserve.
“This includes up to 10 narrow-body, six wide-body and four regional aircraft on standby across Qantas and Jetstar,” said the business in a statement. “This capacity can be gradually added back as certainty improves, and the additional cost is expected to be similarly temporary.”
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said “Since August, we’ve seen a big improvement in our operational performance and an acceleration in our financial performance.
“It’s clear that maintaining our pre-COVID service levels requires a lot more operational buffer than it used to, especially when you consider the sick leave spikes and supply chain delays that the whole industry is dealing with.
“That means having more crew and more aircraft on standby and adjusting our flying schedule to help make that possible, until we’re confident that extra support is no longer needed.
“Qantas’ operations are largely back to the standards people expect, and Jetstar’s performance has improved significantly in the past few weeks and will keep getting better with the extra investments we’re making.”
The ACCC first revealed last month how domestic airlines had been significantly reducing capacity to mitigate the delays and cancellations caused by staff shortages and sickness.
The competition watchdog revealed the cut in seats for sale during the last few months came despite the local industry hitting 97 per cent of pre-pandemic passenger numbers in June.
It followed separate Cirium figures that showed Virgin, Qantas, and Air New Zealand were named among the global airlines with the current highest cancellation rates.
|Route||Airline||Flights Scheduled||Cancellations||Departures Delayed||OnTime Departures
|Gold Coast-Canberra||All Airlines||48||1||30||36.2|
|Mount Isa-Brisbane||Virgin Australia||13||0||8||38.5|
|Gold Coast-Canberra||Virgin Australia||30||0||18||40.0|