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Airline delays can drive you 'plane' crazy

The latest stats are in. How did your favourite airline perform in the “on-time” stakes?

  • News
  • Read Time: 4 mins

As much as we like to travel, many of us dread the hassle of getting to our destination. 

And unless you’re an aviation geek and/or have access to an airport lounge, flight delays are among the biggest irritations. 

So much so, that there has been a push for Australia to introduce laws like those in Europe, where airlines must compensate passengers for delays with payments of up to 600 euros (A$990). 

The latest Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) figures show that about one in four domestic flights were delayed in February 2024. 

BITRE monitors on-time performance over all routes operated by participating airlines Bonza, Jetstar, Qantas, QantasLink, Rex Airlines, Skytrans, Virgin Australia, and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines. 

Between them, they averaged 73% for on-time arrivals and 74.5% for on-time departures. The cancellation rate for the month was 4%. The equivalent figures for February 2023 were 73% for on-time arrivals, 73.7% for on-time departures and 3.9% for cancellations.   

It is worth noting that “on-time” means within 15 minutes of the scheduled time.

Breaking the stats down into individual airlines, newcomer Bonza achieved the highest on-time arrivals at 81.7%, followed by Jetstar at 76.1%, QantasLink at 74.5%, Skytrans at 73.9%, Rex at 72.1%, Virgin Australia at 71.5%, Qantas at 69.9%, and Virgin Regional at 69.2%.  

Bonza also had the highest level of on-time departures at 81.7%, followed by Rex at 76.3%, Skytrans at 76.1%, QantasLink at 75.8%, Jetstar at 74.3%, Virgin at 74.1%, Qantas at 71.7%, and Virgin Regional at 65.6%. 

QantasLink had the highest percentage of cancellations at 6.8%, followed by Skytrans at 4.9%, Qantas at 4.3 per cent, Virgin Regional at 3.8%, Virgin Australia at 2.8%, Jetstar at 2.6%, Bonza at 2.5%, and Rex at 2.1%. 

The Adelaide-Gold Coast route had both the highest percentage of on-time arrivals (89.7%) and the highest percentage of on-time departures (91.4%). 

In contrast, the Melbourne-Darwin route had the lowest percentage of on-time arrivals (44.4%), while the Mildura-Melbourne route had the lowest percentage of on-time departures (53.2%).  

Cancellations were highest on the Broome-Perth route at 24.3%, followed by the Perth-Broome route at 23.7%, the Perth-Darwin route at 21.1%, and the Darwin-Perth route at 19.6%. These routes were affected by industrial action during February in Western Australia. 

Mount Isa Airport recorded the highest percentage of on-time arrivals (85.2%), while Port Lincoln Airport had the highest percentage of on-time departures (84.9%). Mildura Airport recorded the lowest percentage of on-time arrivals (59.3%), and the lowest percentage of on-time departures (53.2%). 

Related reading: BITRE, Forbes,, ABC 


Brett Debritz

Brett Debritz

Communications Specialist, National Seniors Australia

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