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Qantas and Virgin both lose to Jetstar in May cancellations

written by Jake Nelson | June 24, 2024

Qantas, Jetstar, Bonza and Virgin Australia aircraft on the apron at Sunshine Coast Airport. (Image: Sunshine Coast Airport)

Jetstar has beaten both Qantas and Virgin Australia for lower cancellations, with half the long-term average for May 2024.

BITRE data for May 2024 shows that just 1.1 per cent of Jetstar flights were cancelled last month, lower than Virgin Australia at 2.1 per cent and Qantas and QantasLink at 2.6 per cent, though Rex and regional carrier Hinterland Aviation had the best cancellation rates at 0.8 per cent.

The Qantas network (all QF-designated services) climbed back above Virgin Australia in both on-time departures and on-time arrivals after losing a 19-month streak to its rival in April, with Qantas and QantasLink combined recording 80.6 per cent on-time departures and 79.4 per cent on-time arrivals to Virgin’s 78.9 per cent and 77.7 per cent respectively.

Rex was the best-performing airline for domestic jet operations, with its 737-800 network recording 85.5 per cent on-time departures, 82.7 per cent on-time arrivals and just 0.6 per cent of flights cancelled for the month. Over its entire network, including regional turboprop operations, Rex saw 80.1 per cent on-time departures, 77.1 per cent on-time arrivals, and 0.8 per cent cancellations.

Across all participating airlines, 79.6 per cent of flights departed on time and 78.6 per cent arrived on time, with 2.1 per cent cancelled. On-time departures and arrivals were below long-term averages of 80.9 per cent and 82.1 per cent respectively, though cancellations were also slightly below the long-term average of 2.2 per cent.

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According to Qantas Group chief customer and digital officer Catriona Larritt, the result is Qantas’ best showing in 17 months.

“We’ve been working hard to ensure our customers get to their destinations as quickly as possible and we are now closing in on the levels we had before the pandemic,” she said.

“Our new group boarding process has been well received by travellers at Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth airports and this week it’s being rolled out in Sydney.”

Danny Norman, Virgin Australia’s general manager integrated operations centre, said the airline is “delighted to see operational performance settling near or above pre-COVID levels”.

“For the fifth month in a row, Virgin Australia cancelled less flights than Qantas, with a 98 per cent completion rate in May, which is better than the pre-COVID average,” he said.

“Virgin Australia also achieved its second-best monthly result since COVID for on-time performance at 79.2 per cent, behind April’s 82.6 per cent.

“The post-COVID recovery has been challenging for the aviation industry but it’s promising to see reliability and on-time performance continue to improve across Australian airlines.”

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