Australia’s worst airlines and airports for cancellations

Peter Terlato 1 June 2017

airport cancellation

Around 44 flights are cancelled every day across Australia.

Long queues, expensive food and incessant waiting. Getting stuck at the airport is never fun. However, new research has identified the domestic airlines and airports that experience the most cancellations.

Analysing Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) data, finder.com.au found Karratha Airport in Western Australia was the worst for departure cancellations, with 3.47% of flights cancelled each year. The airport has suffered 1,782 cancellations since 2010.

Gladstone (2.99%), Canberra (2.73%) and Rockhampton (2.55%) were also notable for cancellations, while the best performing airports were Darwin (0.54%), Wagga Wagga (0.55%) and Albury (0.78%).

When comparing Australia's major airports, Sydney's Kingsford Smith (2.07%) was the most likely to endure domestic departure cancellations. Melbourne (1.86%) wasn't too far behind, while cancellation rates for Adelaide (0.92%), Hobart (0.83%), Cairns (0.82%), Darwin (0.54%) were significantly lower.

The commercial carrier with the highest percentage of cancellations since 2010 was QantasLink at 2.32%.

Regional Express (rex) was the best performer, with just 0.45% of flights cancelled in the past six years.

The research also revealed the worst month for domestic flight cancellations in Australia was June, followed by July. Over the last six years, the least cancellations occured in May, March and November.

CarrierFlights since 2010Cancellations since 2010Cancellation %
QantasLink1,318,43630,6172.32%
Jetstar1,038,59817,6471.70%
Virgin Australia1,939,54632,2291.66%
Virgin Australia Regional Airlines160,6582,6671.66%
Tigerair Australia286,1424,1431.45%
Qantas1,664,79522,9091.38%
Regional Express603,3932,7160.45%
AirportFlights since 2010Cancellations since 2010Cancellation %
Karratha51,3201,7823.47%
Gladstone43,2101,2942.99%
Canberra270,5847,3882.73%
Rockhampton64,2341,6362.55%
Sydney1,424,46229,4242.07%
Melbourne1,160,60021,6141.86%
Gold Coast221,9723,9461.78%
Sunshine Coast44,5887421.66%
Brisbane966,00814,5621.51%
Launceston71,8721,0301.43%
Mackay57,9608081.39%
Perth408,2585,3221.30%
Newcastle67,0127881.18%
Townsville94,7041,0121.07%
Port Lincoln49,7784660.94%
Adelaide376,4423,4820.92%
Hobart107,1068920.83%
Cairns168,9861,3860.82%
Dubbo45,9943760.82%
Albury46,3823600.78%
Wagga Wagga40,2842200.55%
Darwin52,1642840.54%

While imposed cancellations are a pain, there may come a time when you need to cancel a flight of your own. Compare travel insurance providers to find the policy that will protect you in these circumstances.

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