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Bonza and Rex top on-time performance in November

written by Jake Nelson | December 21, 2023

Victor Pody shot this Bonza 737 MAX 8, VH-UKH ‘Malc’.

Bonza has topped on-time arrivals in its debut month of BITRE data, while Rex has claimed the crown for on-time departures.

For November, Bonza flights saw on-time arrivals of 73.9 per cent and on-time departures of 73.3 per cent, with a 4.2 per cent cancellation rate, while Rex had on-time arrivals of 70.5 per cent and on-time departures of 74.1 per cent, with only 0.9 per cent of flights cancelled.

This compares to Virgin’s 54.3 per cent on-time arrivals, 57.0 per cent on-time departures and 6.2 per cent cancellation rate, Qantas’ 68.1 per cent on-time departure rate and a 66.3 per cent on-time arrival rate with 3.3 per cent cancellations, and Jetstar’s 66.7 per cent on-time departures and 67.8 per cent on-time arrivals, with 2.7 per cent cancellations.

In a media release, Rex deputy chairman John Sharp attacked Qantas and Virgin for “damning” cancellation rates on the Sydney–Melbourne route, with Virgin cancelling 12.5 per cent of flights between the two cities in November and Qantas eight per cent, compared to Rex’s 0.75 per cent. Bonza does not currently service Sydney Airport.

According to Sharp, these high cancellation rates demonstrate the major airlines’ “blatant efforts at gaming the Sydney Airport slots system”.


“They schedule flights they have no intention of flying in order to preserve historical precedence on the slots, then cancel them at last minute,” he said.

“The deliberate disregard and neglect of the travelling public is truly unconscionable, especially at this peak holiday travel season.

“It just goes to show that if you want to reach your destination with a minimum of fuss, have your flight depart on time and be able to pick up your luggage when you land the choice is obvious – fly Rex.”

Data from earlier this year showed that almost 2,300 flights were cancelled on the Sydney–Melbourne route in the first half of 2023 – a practice which was defended by former Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who said it was better to cancel flights on a more frequent service like Sydney–Melbourne than on lower-frequency routes like Sydney–Darwin.

Transport Minister Catherine King said on Thursday, in a significant intervention, that Australians are “fed up” with the major carriers amid poor performance by Qantas and Virgin.

“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,” she said.

Bonza has been contacted for comment.

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