Best and worst of Australian airlines

A recent report has uncovered some telling truths about Australian airlines.

Best and worst of Australian airlines

It’s hard to imagine a more frustrating feeling than when you’ve spent hours going through the rigmarole of airport check-ins and security only to find out your flight has been delayed – or worse – cancelled.

While it’s not much consolation, a recent report from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics has uncovered some telling truths. For the month of June, all domestic routes averaged 82.5 per cent for on-time arrivals, down by more than five per cent from June 2015. On-time departures showed a similar record, with the June 2016 figure sitting at 83.9 per cent – almost five per cent less than the same period last year. Average cancellations represented 2.2 per cent of all scheduled flights, up from to 1.5 per cent in 2015.

So, which are the worst offenders? Tracking the domestic traffic of Jetstar, Qantas, QantasLink, Regional Express, Tigerair Australia, Virgin Australia and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, the report found that Virgin Australia had achieved the highest on-time arrivals for the Australian domestic market at 85.4 per cent. The airline also achieved the best score for on-time departures at 87.7 per cent; however, it also had the highest percentage of cancellations for the month, at 2.6 per cent.

Qantas wasn’t far behind for on-time performance, recording 84.8 per cent for arrivals and 86.5 per cent for departures. Its cancellation percentage was significantly lower at 1.7 per cent. Tigerair was third across the board when it came to timing, achieving 80 per cent for on-time arrivals and 82.7 per cent for departures. Jetstar scored 73.4 per cent and 70.9 per cent, respectively. However, Jetstar had a higher rate of cancellations at 2.2 per cent, compared to Tigerair’s 2.1 per cent.

flight timetable

For regional carriers, QantasLink was the best performer for on-time arrivals at 84.3 per cent, followed by Virgin Australia Regional Airlines at 81.6 per cent and Regional Express at 81.5 per cent. QantasLink and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines tied for the highest rate of on-time departures at 85.3 per cent, with Regional Express recording 84.8 per cent. QantasLink also had the highest number of cancellations at 2.5 per cent, with Virgin’s regional division at 2.3 per cent. Regional Express had the lowest rate of cancellations at 1.5 per cent.

While the on-time performance of domestic airlines varied across their 66 routes, the results showed that Virgin Australia’s carriers were less likely to be delayed than Qantas services, however, there was a higher chance that your flight may be cancelled with Virgin. So, that sort of leaves the best option up in the air.

Do you think this information would influence your choice of airline? Would you like to share any experiences with domestic carriers?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    13th Aug 2016
    Luckily my flights east to west and return with Qantas or Virgin have not been delayed in several years of flying. But, last December, the meals on Qantas were appalling, an open cardboard box, just plonked down on the table and barely edible, it still riles me.
    Polly Esther
    13th Aug 2016
    Those cardboard boxes, tasteless!! :-)
    13th Aug 2016
    We flew Perth tyoSydney on Virgin a couple of years ago and it was the worst flight I had EVER had. The seats no longer recline, so we spent the whole journey sitting upright, from 3 am ??
    and the food was so bad I no longer had swollowed it than I was sick into the paper greasy and oily. I will NEVER ever fly with them again.
    13th Aug 2016
    I flew with them in April and the seats certainly reclined.Not good when you are watching a movie and the person in front reclines their seat.Also the meals I had were very nice so maybe you just hit a bad spot.
    fish head
    13th Aug 2016
    Sounds like a red-eye special, Shaper. Problem is you get what you pay for. Unless desperate or a night owl avoid cheaper red-eye specials.
    13th Aug 2016
    Unfortunately Fish Head,we had no choice as it was part of a cruise package and we didn't find out till we got our ticket who and when we were booked to fly. Lessen well learned.
    13th Aug 2016
    I used Virgin for a trip to the Eastern States early this year and they actually landed half an hour early both ways.
    13th Aug 2016
    Like your sense of humour Polly Esther.
    15th Aug 2016
    Terrible experience coming from Papua New Guinea to Cairns to link up with my next flight( total of 4 to get home), hurry from international to domestic terminal only to discover that Jetstar had cancelled my next flight. Worst airline I have been forced to fly with.
    18th Aug 2016
    The main trouble withe non reclining seats is M O N E Y. We got stuck with this flying Jetstar about five years ago. The flight attendants were quite open about it.....six more seats (I think that was the figure but it could have been more.) means six more fares to sell; but of course the price per passenger doesn't go down! We were flying Adelaide/Brisbane and it was a three hour flight plus circling Bris airport because we were running late and had lost our slot. Then we were redirected to a different gate which meant a longer walk. We had just had a short break - well about 15 days in the west - and taken the Indian Pathetic from Perth to Adelaide. What a contrast! Magnificent food; nearly up to the standard of the late lamented QR Bris to Cairns travelling Queenslander Class, comfortable bunks and a generous supply of free drinks in both cases. Now Queensland Rail can only supply Railbeds at extortionate cost which don't allow for comfortable seating but do allow you to sleep for part of the night in between being woken up bu departing/boarding passengers en route. The food is terrible having been cooked in some remote Brisbane suburb and served lukewarm as a greasy and unidentifiable mess. There is no restaurant car or club car as in any decent tourist train and the supplied table is set so the the plates are just under your chin and you can't shift your legs enough to get comfortable And then they have the cheek to charge you about $7 for a small glass of Ho Hum plonk. QR! once the greatest and best system in the country -- now rubbiish. IMHO

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