On-time arrivals: Virgin Australia closes the gap on Qantas

By John Walton, August 22 2011
On-time arrivals: Virgin Australia closes the gap on Qantas

Virgin Australia is closing in on Qantas in its race to be Australia's most on-time airline, with the latest figures showing that Qantas now leads by just 1.1 percent in on-time arrivals.

As Australian Business Traveller reported, CEO John Borghetti promised to beat Qantas in punctuality, telling a business event in Sydney, "We will have industry leading performance by the end of this year."

For all these statistics, which come from BITRE, the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, "on time" means "within 15 minutes of schedule".)

We looked at Qantas' figures late last week, and it's still the most punctual airline. However, Qantas has recently instructed its pilots not to make up time if they'll be behind that 15-minute "on-time" window, according to the airline pilots' union. So if you're late, you'll be really late.

John Borghetti is still chasing Qantas CEO Alan Joyce for on-time arrivals, though. (It's a similar story for departures too.) Here's how the major Australian airlines break out:

  • Qantas 77.4 percent
  • Virgin Australia 76.3 percent
  • Jetstar 72.9 percent

So Virgin Australia is just 1.1 percent behind Qantas in terms of on-time arrivals, with each airline getting around three-quarters of flights in within 15 minutes.

Both airlines' on-time performance is continuing to fall, and Qantas' and is at its lowest point for several years -- though still consistently higher than Virgin Australia's.

Here's Qantas' historical performance for the past three years (you're looking at the green line; higher on the chart means a better on-time record):

And here's Virgin Australia's:

Both airlines are down from their 2009 and 2010 high points. If John Borghetti can turn Virgin Australia's slump around faster than Alan Joyce can fix Qantas', then he may well be on track to fulfil his promise of "industry leading performance by the end of the year".

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

27 Jul 2011

Total posts 42

Thanks John, but could you please publish both airlines on-time arrival rate and cancellations in different colours on one graph so it's easier to compare?

am
am

15 Apr 2011

Total posts 586

However, Qantas has recently instructed its pilots not to make up time if they'll be behind that 15-minute "on-time" window. So if you're late, you'll be really late.

Just to be clear, that is not a fact. In that article you say yourself that the 'accusations' should be taken with a 'pinch of salt'.

Qantas

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 177

It is fact - Qantas confirmed it.


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