Australia's top on time performing airlines and airports


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Australia's top on time performing airlines and airports

Over 60 million passengers flew on Australian domestic routes in 2013i, with 81 per cent of all flights departing on time, 79 per cent arriving on time and 1.8 per cent cancelledii. These figures were slightly below the industry long term average of 83.5 per cent for on time departures and 82 percent for on time arrivalsii. There are many factors that can affect a flight's departure and arrival times; from runway scheduling problems to bad weather. It can be hard for airlines and airports to mitigate the risk of running behind schedule.

So, which domestic airlines and airports had the highest levels of punctuality last year?

There are many factors that can affect a flight's departure and arrival; from runway scheduling problems to bad weather.

A recent report from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) found that Qantas had the best on time performance of all major domestic airlines in 2013, with an on time departure rate of 85.5 per cent and an on time arrival rate of 84.3 per cent. Virgin Australia came in second with 79.6 per cent of flights departing on time and 77.3 per cent of flights departing on timeii.

One in four Jetstar flights did not depart on time, while competing low-cost airline Tigerair fared only slightly better with 23.4 per cent of flights delayedii.

Among the regional airlines, Regional Express performed the best across the board with an on time departure rate of 86.9 per cent and an on time arrival rate of 84 per centii.

Virgin Australia ATR/F100 Operations had the highest percentage of cancellations of all regional and domestic airlines at 3.8 per cent, followed by QantasLink at 2.7 per centii.

The data released by BITRE shows that airlines owned by the same group do not necessarily perform similarly well or bad; the discrepancies between the performance of Qantas Group subsidiary airlines Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar demonstrate this.

Across the industry, on time performance has slipped slightly since the beginning of the year, with cancellations for the major airlines increasing over the past few months.

Across the industry, on time performance has slipped slightly since the beginning of the year, with cancellations for the major airlines increasing over the past few monthsiii.

The knock-on effect of delayed flights can often be responsible for poor on time performance, especially on flight routes that operate across busy or complex networks. A prime example is the Australian east coast aviation network of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, which receives 65 per cent of all national air trafficiv. In 2013, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports averaged on time departure rates of 80.3 per cent, 80.4 per cent and 80 per cent, respectivelyii. By contrast, Perth Airport, the fourth busiest in the nation, achieved a significantly better on time departure rate of 85 per centii.

Availability of infrastructure, air traffic control issues and government caps on the number of allowable flights per hour can also have a major impact upon an airport's on time performanceiv.

BITRE predicts that aviation passenger movements in Australia will double by 2030. Airlines and airports will need to find ways to not only increase capacity, but improve their on time performance through infrastructure upgrades, process refinement and efficient schedulingv.


iBITRE 2013, 'Aviation - Domestic aviation activity: Annual 2013', viewed 12 June 2014,
https://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/ongoing/files/domestic_airline_activity_2013a.pdf, p.1

iiBITRE 2013, 'Aviation – Domestic airline on time performance 2013, viewed 12 June 2014,
https://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/ongoing/files/BITRE_OTP_Report_2013.pdf, p.1

iiiBITRE 2013, 'Aviation – Domestic airline on time performance: April 2014', viewed 12 June 2014,
https://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/ongoing/files/BITRE_OTP_Report_April_2014.pdf, p.1ff

ivSydney Airport 2013, 'On-time performance', viewed 12 June 2014,
http://www.sydneyairport.com.au/corporate/about-us/overview/fact-sheets/on-time-performance.aspx

vAustralian Government Productivity Commission 2011, 'Economic Regulation of Airport Services: Productivity Commission Inquiry Report No. 57', viewed 12 June 2014,
http://pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/114645/airport-regulation.pdf