Virgin shines as Aussie airlines improve on-time performance

Peter Terlato 19 August 2016

On time performance airport flights waiting

Tigerair dominates low-cost category with much better timeliness than Jetstar.

Virgin Australia achieved both the highest level of on-time arrivals and departures among all Australian airlines during 2015-16, while budget carrier Jetstar struggled to keep up with competitors.

The findings were revealed in the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) annual domestic airline on-time performance report for 2015-16.

On-time performance across all routes and all participating airlines improved year-on-year in 2015-16. Arrivals averaged 86.1% while departures averaged 86.7%, representing annual rises of 1% and 0.2% respectively.

However, the average number of cancellations increased slightly to 1.6%, up from 1.4% in 2014-15.

Virgin Australia's on-time arrival performance was 89.5% while on-time departures were higher still at 90.6%.

Qantas Airways posted the second-highest rates for both arrivals (88.8%) and departures (89.7%), followed closely by low-cost carrier Tigerair Australia, with solid arrivals (84.4%) and departures (85.5%) performance.

Jetstar lagged in both areas of performance, with on-time arrivals (78.2%) and departures (75.1%) failing to achieve comparative efficiency.

Among regional carriers, QantasLink was the best performing airline in terms of arrivals (86.4%) but was overshadowed by Regional Express' impressive departures (88.5%) rate.

QantasLink had the highest percentage of cancellations (2.6%) among all carriers, followed by Jetstar (2.2%). Tigerair was one of the strongest performers, with only 1% of flights cancelled in 2015-16.

The annual figures were a noticeable improvement on June's poor performance.

Passengers travelling on Queensland's Brisbane-Mount Isa route were the most likely to arrive (95.8%) and depart (96.3%) on time, anywhere in the country last financial year.

Those on the Port Macquarie-Sydney route were least likely to arrive on time (68% arrivals), while getting off the ground between Sunshine Coast-Melbourne was most difficult (69.6% departures).

Cancellations were highest on the Moranbah-Brisbane route (7.2%), followed by Brisbane-Moranbah (6.9%), Canberra-Sydney (5.5%), Sydney-Canberra (5.3%) and Gladstone-Brisbane (3.6%).

Over the last 12 months the price of discount airfares across Australia has decreased, while restricted economy fares remain stable and business class fares have risen.

Selecting the right time of day to fly can reduce costs, but early mornings and late night services can be complicated by cancellations.

Picture: Shutterstock

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

Ask a question