Rex takes aim at Qantas over on-time performance

The regional carrier loves finding a way to take a swing at the aviation industry’s 1,800-pound gorilla, Matt Lennon reports.

QANTAS will likely brush off the latest barbs from long-time detractor Rex Airlines after the regional specialist took aim at the Flying Kangaroo over the latest official on-time performance figures for Australia’s domestic aviation landscape.

In what was an utterly dire month all-round for Australia’s domestic carriers, the latest Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) stats showed the overall performance rate was 63.6% for on-time arrivals across the board, with departures only slightly better at 65.2%.

Cancellation rates across all airlines closed at 5%, worse than the 3.4% rate one year earlier, however figures included heavy disruption experienced in Cairns which closed for several days due to the impact of Cyclone Jasper.

In a case of ‘pot meet kettle’, Rex issued a statement claiming the crown for the best overall cancellation rate, with only 0.6% of its 5,500 flights for the month of December getting the chop.

While this figure does trump Qantas’ own cancellation rate of 3.7%, that also applied to 18,100 individual flight sectors flown over the same period – more than three times that of Rex but admittedly with a much larger workforce and corporate presence.

Elsewhere in the market, the other major player Virgin Australia had another poor month, operating 11,266 services but axing 7.5% of them.

“The Qantas Group could take consolation from the fact that while its cancellation rate is a disgraceful 700% higher than Rex’s, it could still boast that it is not at the bottom of the barrel since the Virgin Group’s cancellation rate is 1,250% higher than Rex’s,” the airline said.

Qantas on the other hand said that while Dec was its 16th consecutive month leading the on-time running figures, the data “still shows significant room for improvement in absolute terms”.

At the other end of the scale, Bonza endured a woeful month, with nearly one in every five of its 701 scheduled flights cancelled. The fledgling purple carrier operated only 565 of these, with barely more than half either departing or arriving on schedule.

Bonza’s score was more than double that of the second-worst carrier in Queensland’s FIFO carrier Skytrans, which flew 284 of its 312 scheduled flights to record a 9% cancellation rate.

Results for all airlines remain well below the long-term average performance for all routes, with historical averages at 81.1% for arrivals and 82.2% for departures.

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