Media Release

Summer holiday planning: How to avoid a flight delay

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17 October 2016, Sydney, Australia – Planning a trip to visit family over summer? Be prepared for a travel delay if you’re flying out of Hobart Airport, says, Australia’s most visited comparison website.1 analysed the latest data from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, on the performance of domestic airports and airlines in Australia over the 12 months to June 2016, revealing Australia’s busiest domestic airports with the lowest percentage of on-time departures.

Hobart Airport topped the list for the second year in a row for the least amount of on-time departures, with 21.8% of flights not leaving on time, while at the other end of the spectrum, Townsville came in first for punctuality, with less than 10% of departures behind schedule.

Both of Australia’s busiest domestic airports2, Sydney and Melbourne, were outperformed by most of the other airports on the list with 16.2% of flights not departing on time.

In terms of domestic Australian airlines, Jetstar is the least reliable with 21.8% of passengers not arriving at their destination on time, according to the analysis by While Virgin Australia was the most punctual airline with 89.5% of on time arrivals.

Domestic airline performance in 2015-16 was slightly above the long-term average for both arrivals and departures, however the rate of flight cancellations was higher than the long term average, coming in at 1.6% in 2015-16, up from 1.4% over the long term.

Bessie Hassan, Money Expert at, said many factors could lead to a delay so travellers should prepare for the worst case scenario when planning their trip to the airport.

“From wild winds in Melbourne to floods in Adelaide, Australian airports can be at the mercy of the elements but some airports are more prone to delays than others,” said Ms Hassan.

Australia’s busiest domestic airports ranked on percentage of departures on time:

Ranking 2016 Airport % On-time departures 2015-2016 % Increase from 2014
1 Townsville 90.7 3.6
2 Adelaide 90.1 0.7
3 Perth 90.1 0.5
4 Brisbane 89.7 2.1
5 Canberra 88.3 -0.4
6 Cairns 87.7 3.3
7 Darwin 85.2 4.6
8 Sydney 84.8 -0.6
9 Melbourne 84.8 -0.7
10 Gold Coast 82.7 -1.8
11 Hobart 78.2 0

Source:, Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 11.36.17 AM

Australia’s most reliable domestic airlines:

Ranking 2016 Airline % On-time arrivals 2015-2016 % Increase from 2014
1 Virgin Australia 89.5 2.7
2 Qantas 88.8 1.6
3 Qantas Link 86.4 2.3
4 Regional Express 85.5 0.5
5 Tigerair Australia 84.4 5.1
6 Virgin Australia Regional 83.8 -1
7 Jetstar 78.2 -4.7

Source:, Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 11.36.17 AM

If you do experience a delay or cancellation that is out of your or the airline’s control, Ms Hassan says 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 said.

Ms Hassan also warns travellers not to leave it too late to take out travel insurance.

“If you take out insurance after a natural disaster hits or a strike date is announced you’re unlikely to be covered for costs related to these events,” she said.

1. Experian Hitwise since 2015
2. Based on number of sectors flown being over 5,400


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