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Australians ‘fed up’ with Qantas and Virgin, says transport minister

written by Jake Nelson | December 21, 2023

Victor Pody shot these Qantas and Virgin 737-800s.

In an extraordinary intervention, Transport Minister Catherine King has launched a broadside against both Qantas and Virgin for their poor on-time performance in November.

Pointing to last month’s BITRE data, which showed on-time arrivals of 64.1 per cent, on-time departures of 65.9 per cent and cancellations of 3.7 per cent across all airlines – each worse than long-term averages – the minister said Australians are losing their patience with Qantas and Virgin.

“Given these very disappointing results, it is no wonder that so many Australians remain fed up with our major airlines,” she said.

“Like all Australians, the government wants an aviation sector that supports our nation’s way of life and this means services need to be reliable, competitive and affordable.”

Virgin was the lowest-performing airline in November, with 54.3 per cent on-time arrivals and 57.0 per cent on-time departures, along with a 6.2 per cent cancellation rate.


Qantas services including QantasLink had a 68.1 per cent on-time departure rate and a 66.3 per cent on-time arrival rate, with 3.3 per cent cancellations, while Jetstar saw 66.7 per cent on-time departures and 67.8 per cent on-time arrivals, with 2.7 per cent cancellations. The Flying Kangaroo has previously maintained it is the “most on-time major airline” in Australia.

Minister King said the government’s Aviation White Paper, to be released in mid-2024, will “set the scene for the next generation of growth and development across the aviation sector”.

“This will include consideration of how we can better protect the interests of consumers, whether that be a stronger ombudsman model or other measures implemented in overseas jurisdictions.

“As Australians gear up to travel for Christmas and the holidays, the government will be keeping a close eye on the performance of all our major airlines.”

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Comments (2)

  • Edward Davies


    To be fair,most delays are due to ATC staff shortages which the Minister is responsible for and does not acknowledge.
    However Virgin’s performance was poor-compare it to Rex.
    The figures flatter Bonza which should be better given it flies mostly from regional airports,Melbourne excepted.

  • Perhaps the minister should also consider the demise of Melbourne Airport and its single runway use. Last month travelling on Qantas direct to Singapore the captain informed us we were #10 in the takeoff queue and there were many arrivals. Suddenly no departures or arrivals due to “runway damage”. So we sat. From my window seat I watched airport vehicles buzzing around like frantic ants to work out a damage fix.
    To cut a long story short they opened a second runway for arrivals and eventually we did a somewhat hair raising departure on the “open” section of the damaged runway. Insult to injury Singapore Control slowed us down. Late by 90 minutes on arrival. GR.

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