Australia’s Least Reliable Airline Revealed; Yes, You Get What You Pay For

This may not come as a surprise.

Australia’s Least Reliable Airline Revealed; Yes, You Get What You Pay For

We’ve all been there: you’ve rushed to the airport, through check-in, all the indignities of security, and sprinted to your gate… only to find your flight delayed or – even worse – cancelled. But who are the worst culprits in a bustling field? A new government study has revealed all.

Not all delays are created equal: the odd ten minutes here or there is a lot more tolerable than being abandoned on the tarmac overnight, with nothing but a soggy Maccers for sustenance. However, no matter how brief the individual delay, these things add up…

Not only does it impact on your journey, but delayed take-offs can massively impact an airline’s success. As in any industry, if you get a reputation for not delivering what you promised when you promised, you can expect some revenue issues.

In an effort to save you such scarring experiences, the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) has collated and released data on all of Australia’s domestic carriers and flights. As it turns out, one of Australia’s major airlines isn’t performing as well as you might hope…

But before we dish the dirt, let’s take a wider view: out of the participating airlines (Jetstar, Qantas, QantasLink, Rex Airlines, Virgin Australia and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines), the average on-time performance for arrivals and departures was just 71.0% and 71.4%, respectively. Cancellations stood at a whopping 3.6%.

WATCH: Flight been cancelled? Follow these next steps…

So it’s not exactly good news for any of our airlines. In fact, these figures represent a significant drop from last year’s, which stood at 78.2% for on-time arrivals, 77.5% for on-time departures, and 2.5% for cancellations.

There is some good news, however. The report shows that the Qantas network performed the best, with 75.6% on-time arrivals and 75.7% on-time departures. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the full extent of things to celebrate.

Bad news, on the other hand, is in plentiful supply: Virgin Australia recorded only 68.6% on-time arrivals and 69.7% on-time departures. The worst of the bunch though, in news that may not be a surprise to many, is that Jetstar had the lowest on-time performance, with just 61.9% on-time arrivals and 59.6% on-time departures.

The report does more than bag out underperforming airlines; it also reveals which routes were the most and least reliable in recent months. If you’re flying from Cairns to Townsville, you’re in luck – this route had the highest percentage of on-time arrivals and departures, at 92.8% and 92.1%, respectively.

Some pretty damning cancellation statistics only add to the bad news. Graph:

On the flipside, if you’re heading from Sunshine Coast to Sydney, you might want to gird your loins for a substantial delay: this route had the lowest percentage of on-time arrivals, at just 49.1%.

Cancellations were highest on the Melbourne-Sydney route, with a shocking 9.1% of all flights getting cancelled. The Sydney-Melbourne, Canberra-Sydney, Newcastle-Brisbane, and Sydney-Canberra all had high cancellation rates too, indicating a nationwide issue that may go beyond the organisational capacities of any individual carrier.

So if you’re planning a trip soon, it might be time to reconsider how necessary that journey is, especially if your stress threshold is as pathetically low as mine. If it can’t be avoided, I understand… just brace yourself for turbulence before you’ve even taken off.