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Virgin was Australia’s least reliable airline in July

written by Jake Nelson | August 22, 2023

Victor Pody shot this Virgin Australia 737-800, VH-YIT.

Virgin Australia’s on-time performance took a nosedive in July, ending up at the bottom of the table for both arrivals and departures.

The airline dropped below even long-time worst performer Jetstar, with 58.9 per cent on-time departures and 59.2 per cent on-time arrivals, compared to Jetstar’s 66.3 per cent and 68.1 per cent respectively. Of Virgin’s flights, 5.3 per cent were cancelled, compared to Jetstar’s 3.3 per cent.

This is a significant drop from June, where 67.9 per cent of Virgin services departed on time and 65.2 per cent arrived on time, with a 4.1 per cent cancellation rate.

A Virgin Australia spokeswoman acknowledged the performance issues but said the airline is working hard to improve reliability.

“Our operation in July was impacted by a number of factors, including air traffic controller shortages, weather, and crew resourcing. We recognise our performance did not meet our standards and we apologise to our guests who experienced disruption,” she said.


“August-to-date data indicates our focus on improvement is already delivering positive results. This remains a priority for our entire team.”

On-time performance remained lacklustre across all participating airlines, with on-time arrivals at 68.2 per cent and departures at 68.1 per cent, with a 4.0 per cent cancellation rate. Of the major airlines, Qantas was again on top, with 71.2 per cent on-time departures and 71.5 per cent on-time arrivals.

Australia’s third largest airline group is celebrating, however, with Rex saying its domestic 737-800 jet operations had an on-time departure rate above 75 per cent.

“Rex led the pack for both domestic and regional operations, with the Qantas Group a distant second and the Virgin Australia Group recording a sub 60 per cent performance for On Time Departure,” the airline said in a statement.

“Rex’s performance is even more spectacular for cancellations, with the Qantas Group recording 100 per cent more cancellations compared to Rex’s, and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines showing over 600 per cent higher than Rex Regional.”

The result comes in spite of a turbulent few months for Rex, which saw the airline forecast a $35 million loss in June after reducing services on nine regional routes in May and reportedly grounding almost a third of its Saab 340s.

Rex’s Executive Chairman, Lim Kim Hai, put the blame on supply chain issues and the industry’s ongoing talent crisis while apologising to inconvenienced customers.

“I know that it is small consolation for our disrupted passengers to know that their problems would have been magnified manyfold if they flew with our competitors, but that, unfortunately, is the state of aviation today,” he said.

“All I can say is that my entire management team is working relentlessly every single day to minimise disruptions and to fix the issues within our control, and we will continue this effort till we regain the old benchmarks of reliability for which we are well known.”

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