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Qantas opening a reliability gap on its major rivals

Official on-time running data for October 2022 shows a distinct, and growing, gap between Australia’s two largest airlines.

Qantas is making small, but consistent gains in its operational performance.

When Qantas CEO Alan Joyce recently declared Qantas was putting its utmost effort into restoring the airline’s reliability and performance figures, many wrote off his comments as typical corporate rhetoric and empty posturing for shareholders and customers.

However, the release today of official Domestic Airline On-Time Performance figures for October 2022 has shown the red-tailed carrier is in fact making some genuine improvement, albeit small.

While hardly anything to write home about, Qantas’ on-time departures rate for October closed at 73.9% network-wide – meaning that still, one in every four flights was not taking off on schedule.

But the result is another link in a gradually growing chain of improving results, up from 69% recorded in September and 67.2% in August.

Perhaps making the result better still is the fact its chief rival, Virgin Australia, is heading in the other direction.

Despite flying some 7,500 fewer sectors in the month, the reenergised challenger’s on-time departures rate has slipped in recent times, from 69.5% in August to 66.7% in September and now down to 63%. That means only six in every ten flights take to the sky at the designated time.

Jetstar’s widely criticised cancellation rate from a month ago, where nearly one in every ten flights was axed, the result in October was a huge improvement with October recording a cancellation rate of 3.9%.

Overall, on-time running figures were significantly down on those posted a year earlier however fair comparisons cannot be made, with October 2021 seeing much of Australia’s east coast in various stages of lockdown and demand for flights being a tiny fraction on what they are now.

The domestic route most impacted by cancellations were QantasLink’s flights between Adelaide and Melbourne, with 16.7% of scheduled flights between the two southern capitals failing to push back.

Another of Australia’s most poorly performing routes were Jetstar flights between Sydney and Melbourne.

While Jetstar posted a vastly improved cancellation rate through October across its network, flyers moving between these two cities may not have noticed, as the low-cost airline axed one in every ten flights on the route.

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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 21 November 2022

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