Australian domestic airline punctuality is improving as Qantas duels with Virgin, not over capacity for a change, but for the honour of being the most punctual airline in the skies.
After a long run of dominance in the field by Qantas, Virgin pulled ahead and has held the lead recently as the most on-time carrier. Latest statistics, however, indicate that Qantas has edged ahead again.
For May 2015, Qantas achieved the highest on-time arrivals among the major domestic airlines at 89.6%, according to data collated by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).
Qantas was followed during the month by Virgin Australia at 88.8%, Jetstar at 84.3% and Tigerair at 82.2%. Regional Express was the best performing regional airline for on-time arrivals at 86%, followed by QantasLink at 85.1% and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines at 83.4%.
The Qantas network (Qantas and QantasLink combined operations) recorded 87.3% for on-time arrivals while the Virgin Australia network (Virgin Australia and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines combined operations) recorded 87.8%.
Qantas also achieved the highest level of on-time departures for May 2015 at 90.8%, followed by Virgin Australia at 90.3%, Tigerair at 84.6% and Jetstar at 84.0%. Regional Express led the regional airlines at 88.5% in the on-time departures stakes, followed by QantasLink at 86.8% and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines at 84.7%. The Qantas network recorded 88.7% for on-time departures while the Virgin Australia network recorded 89.2%.
For May 2015, on-time performance over all routes operated by participating airlines (Jetstar, Qantas, QantasLink, Regional Express, Tigerair, Virgin Australia and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines) averaged 86.6% for on-time arrivals and 88% for on-time departures.
Cancellations represented 1.7% of all scheduled flights. The equivalent figures for May 2014 were 87.1% for arrivals, 88.4% for departures and 1.2% for cancellations.
This month’s figures were above the long-term average performance for all routes (82.4% for arrivals and 83.9% for departures). The rate of cancellations was higher than the long-term average of 1.3%.
QantasLink had the highest percentage of cancellations (2.6%) during the month, followed by Virgin Australia (2.4%), Jetstar (1.5%), Tigerair (also 1.5%), Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (1.3%), Qantas (also 1.3%) and Regional Express (0.2%).
Airlines’ on-time performance varies across the routes they serve. Of the 62 routes which met the criteria for on-time performance reporting in May 2015, the Perth-Darwin route had the highest percentage of on-time arrivals (100% – hard to beat that one!) and the highest percentage of on-time departures (98.6%).
Port Macquarie-Sydney route had the lowest percentage of on-time arrivals (64.5%) and the Hamilton Island-Sydney route had the lowest percentage of on-time departures (69%).
Cancellations were highest on the Canberra-Sydney route at 5.5%, followed by the Sydney-Canberra route at 5%, the Sydney-Melbourne route at 4.8%, the Melbourne-Sydney route at 4.5% and the Brisbane-Rockhampton route at 4.3%.
Newman Airport recorded the highest percentage of on-time arrivals (97.8%) and the highest percentage of on-time departures (97.2%). Ayers Rock Airport recorded the lowest percentage of on-time arrivals (69.4%) and Port Macquarie Airport recorded the lowest percentage of on-time departures (72.1%). These figures only refer to reported routes and do not cover all flights at these airports.
Edited by Peter Needham