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AIRLINES: Worst on time performance – NOT Qantas!

AIRLINES: Worst on time performance – NOT Qantas!

Qantas has received blistering attacks in the media and in social media for its on-time performance and cancellations, but in fact it is the second best performing domestic carrier after REX, or at least the most improved.

In a report released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) today, highlighting the strength of demand fro flights leading up to Christmas, it notes that when comparing cancelled flights and delayed flights in July and October 2022, Jetstar is in fact the worse, with Virgin Australia coming a close second.

the tail of an airplane with a star on it

Cancelled Flights

If we exclude REX, which had 2.2% or under for the period, Jetstar scored the worst in both July (8.8%) and October (3.9%), with Virgin coming in at second worst with 7.7% in July and 3.6% in October. Qantas on the other hand went from 6.2% in July down to 2.2% in October matching REX’s lowest score.

a white airplane on a runway

Delayed Flights

REX was consistent with the least delays at 31.7% for both July and October. Qantas did start with a high percentage of delays at 47% in July, but both Jetstar (48.5%) and Virgin (47.5%) were worse. By October, Qantas had improved to 25.8%, the lowest rate of delays for any of the airlines, while Virgin (35.1%) and Jetstar (35.6%) both lingered around 35%.

Cancelled Flights%Delayed Flights %
 July 2022Oct 2022July 2022Oct 2022
Virgin Australia7.73.647.535.1
Industry total6.42.945.030.7
Long-term average2.
Table from ACCC report

Revenue per Passenger

Airlines often use the dollars earned per passenger (sometime with the addition of per mile) as a way of measuring their performance. The current ACCC Airline Competition in Australia report finds that revenue measured this way was up 27% against pre-pandemic October 2019.

“Airfares have risen due to strong demand for travel and constrained supply as airlines have scaled back their schedules in response to high jet fuel costs and operational challenges.”

Anna Brakey, ACCC Commissioner
a line graph with numbers and a line
Source: Data collected by the ACCC from Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Rex.

Price increases are worst for discounted fares

It’s no surprise that the lower the fare classification – say discount economy – they higher the increase compared to more expensive fare bands like flexible Business.

‘Flexible economy and business airfares have not increased as much as discounted fares, and in November 2022 they remained below pre-COVID-19 prices.’

Airline Competition in Australia ACCC Report

In Short

Airline capacity is not keeping up with current demand, which means that average airfares are higher than they have beem for a few years. Cancellations are reducing, but there is still a high rate of delays. Demand and prices are sooooo strong, that airlines are expecting to return to profitability way earlier than expected, after huge losses and near bankruptcies during the pandemic. And finally despite the move of REX into capital city routes the demise of Tigerair, and the sale of Virgin, market share between the airlines has remained fairly static.

a plane on the tarmac

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

There are not too many surprises in the report, except that Qantas fares much better than social and other media would lead you to believe, when you actually look at the data. Granted – this data does not include rates of lost luggage, or short staffing, and we already knew that prices are sky-high, capacity is low, and that the more competition on a route – the lower the prices.

Bring on BONZA!

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