Media Release

Australia’s most delayed airports revealed

  • Sunshine Coast tops list of Australia’s most delayed airports (31% of flights delayed)
  • Hobart Airport is the worst of the capital cities
  • Consumers are encouraged to take out domestic travel insurance

12 June 2018, Sydney, Australia – Sunshine Coast Airport has topped the list of Australia’s worst airports, according to a new analysis from, the site that compares virtually everything.

The findings, which came from a analysis of BITRE departures data, revealed which of Australia’s most major airports saw the highest rates of departure delay in 2017.

Sunshine Coast, which saw 7,684 departing flights last year, had the highest delay rate of over 31% – almost one in three.

In second place, and the worst of the capital cities, was Hobart, with a delay rate of 27%. That equates to over 4,800 delayed flights – nearly one every two hours.

Australian flights saw over 21,600 cancellations last year, with one quarter of these (25%) being in Sydney alone.

Sydney was also the fifth-most delayed airport in 2017, with 20% of its 214,000 flights behind schedule.

Bessie Hassan, Travel Insurance Expert at, says smaller airports are more likely to experience a knock-on effect from other flights.

“Many routes send a single aircraft between two ports multiple times a day. If an inbound flight runs late, this affects passengers waiting to depart on that plane,” she said.

“It’s also important to note that an airport’s delay rate is rarely due to a lack of airport infrastructure, but instead more likely to be the result of poor weather or congestion elsewhere.”

Port Lincoln Airport was the least delayed airport with only 8% of flights departing behind schedule in 2017.

Of Australia’s capital cities, Perth performed best with only 13% of domestic flights delayed in 2017.

Ms Hassan reminds travellers to prepare in the case of a flight delay.

“If you do experience a delay or cancellation that is out of your control, you should be able to claim compensation through your travel insurance.

“However, insurance providers usually only accept a claim if your flight is delayed more than six hours,” she says.

Top 10 most delayed major airports in Australia:

2017 RankAirportDepartures in 2017% of flights delayed in 2017
1Sunshine Coast7,68430.9%
3Gold Coast31,48024.4%


Ranked by delays, analysis restricted to Australia’s 20 busiest airports based on departures. Top 10 of the busiest 20 Airports by flights departed tips for avoiding a flight delay:

  • Aim to arrive to the airport at least three hours before an international flight and two hours before a domestic flight. This leaves room to unexpected issues that may arise on the way to the airport.
  • Book your flight for a weekday. Usually less people fly on weekdays than weekends, so this helps avoid crowds.
  • Avoid peak periods, such as the days leading up to major holidays, or peak travel times such as early in the morning or late in the afternoon.


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