Australia’s national airlines recorded their worst on-time performance in June since recording began in 2003. Australian government statistics now reveal the top five carriers – Jetstar, Qantas, QantasLink, Regional Express (Rex), Virgin Australia and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA), on-time arrivals averaged 63% in June and on-time departures 61.9%. The average cancellation rate for June was 5.8%.
Qantas Group airlines were worst performers on punctuality in June
An aircraft does not need to depart or arrive at the gate exactly on time to be counted as being on time. If a plane arrives or leaves the gate within 15 minutes of the stated time, it counts as being on time. So before the Australian Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) starts collecting data, there is some wiggle room in the system.
Qantas recorded the lowest on-time arrival rate in June, with just 59.4% of its 19,909 domestic flights arriving within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time. Qantas’ low-cost subsidiary Jetstar had the worst on-time departure rate, with just 55.7% of Jetstar’s 6,779 flights in June departing within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure time.
BITRE says these are the worst monthly averages since they began collecting the data in 2003. BITRE also notes that the April 2022 and May 2022 averages are now the second and third worst on record since 2003.
“The figures for this month (June) were impacted by weather-related events, congestion (overflown sectors approaching pre-COVID-19 levels) and other COVID-19 related issues,” says a BITRE press release.
Airline group Qantas performed in the worst of Australia’s domestic punctuality stakes in June. Photo: Getty Images
Virgin Australia group airlines are doing a bit better
Another leading Australian airline, Virgin Australia, did only marginally better than Qantas Group airlines. Virgin Australia’s main line and its subsidiary VARA recorded an average on-time arrival rate of 61.8% in June and an average on-time departure rate of 59.8%. BITRE also reports that Virgin Australia airlines had an average cancellation rate of 5.55% in June, while Qantas Group airlines had an average monthly cancellation rate of 6.87%.
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Wednesday, The Australian The newspaper reported that 609 Virgin Australia flights were delayed by more than an hour in June. At Qantas, 39% of all flights landed between 15 and 60 minutes late. Jetstar was the worst offender for seriously late flights – but that’s hardly surprising news for any regular Australian traveller.
Virgin Australia had a better punctuality rate in June than Qantas Group airlines – but only narrowly. Photo: Getty Images
Rex outperforms competitors in on-time performance issues
There is an unusual silence but probably smug smiles inside the Regional Express bunker over the latest data. In terms of gross flights, Rex had the fewest flights in July (5,971), but Rex had an average on-time arrival rate of 80% and an average on-time departure rate of 82.7% in June. Rex’s cancellation rate was only 0.7%. This is the best set of figures collected from any airline in June.
Rex also outperformed the others in May. At the time, Rex Vice President John Sharp was moved to say: “Rex treats its customers with respect and decency; we are not canceling flights en masse and we are not losing trucks full of our passengers’ luggage.”
In a statement regarding the June figures, a Qantas spokesperson said: “Our performance this month has been impacted by a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases for our operations team, as well as inclement weather in New South Wales.”
Last week, Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David said the airline was working hard to overcome labor and operational issues. But the Qantas executive warned that delays and cancellations were an industry-wide problem and suggested passengers should expect “a few more bumps along the way“before the situation normalized.