With another month of good performance under its belt, Qantas is close to full recovery of pre-COVID levels. The Flying Kangaroo bounded forward again in October with on-time performance, cancelation rate and mishandled bags continuing signs of its customer service recovery.

Since being the subject of much public and media criticism, most of it warranted, Qantas has taken a new approach to its communication strategies. Once recognized as one of Australia’s most trusted brands, Qantas is working proactively to regularly tell people in a straightforward, spin-free way how the airline is performing.

It’s a significant change from earlier in the year when Qantas, and its CEO Alan Joyce, seemed to shift the blame in every direction instead of taking responsibility for how it was treating its customers. It is a long way back, but the October results show an airline that has its operations back under control and has processes in place to handle disruptions that it can’t control.

This morning, Qantas published a snapshot of its three key customer metrics for October, clearly showing how far the airline has come in a few months. The airline reported its on-time performance had reached 74% of all flights, the cancellation rate is at 2.2% of flights and six bags per 1,000 passengers were mishandled. At their 2022 worst, those three numbers were 52%, 7.5% and 12 per 1,000, respectively.

Qantas October 2022 On Time Performance was 74%

Graph: Qantas

Reporting that an aircraft departed or arrived on time is a misnomer, and should not be confused with punctuality, at least not in the usual sense. In Australia, the official monthly statistics are produced by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), which says it “monitors the punctuality and reliability of major domestic airlines operating between Australian airports.” However, while the statistics might show that Qantas, Virgin Australia or Rex departed 75% of their flights on time, it could be that none of their flights departed at the time on the schedule or airport board.

The BITRE on-time performance (OTP) definition, which is used by almost all airlines, is that:

“A flight arrival is counted as ‘on time’ if it arrived at the gate before 15 minutes after the scheduled arrival time shown in the carriers’ schedule. Neither diverted nor canceled flights count as on time. Similarly, a flight departure is counted as ‘on time’ if it departs the gate before 15 minutes after the scheduled time shown in the carriers’ schedule.”

So, if a flight leaves the gate 14 minutes late and arrives at the gate 14 minutes late it’s still counted as two on-time movements. Which is strange, given that a bus or tradesman arriving 14 minutes late is not turning up on time, it might be close, but it’s not on time. The BITRE definition also feels the need to point out that Qantas and Jetstar use a different method of collecting and measuring, relying on ACARS (Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System) data. Other airlines, including Virgin Australia and Rex, record on-time performance manually using records from pilots, gate agents and/or ground crews.

Qantas October 22 Cancellation Rate was 2.2%

Graph: Qantas

Watching these reports, which are now published monthly, should indicate how Qantas is performing against its own metrics and definitions. On cancelations, Qantas says that the 2.2% recorded in October is below pre-COVID levels, and it’s certainly a dramatic improvement from the 7.5% in June. If we look at the BITRE airline comparisons, we know that’s based on: “A flight is regarded as a cancelation if it is canceled or rescheduled less than seven days prior to its scheduled departure time.” Which suggests if you were a Jetstar passenger sitting on the beach in Thailand, then so long as the flight is canceled a week before your return it’s not really canceled at all. It sure would feel like it was canceled.

Qantas October 2022 Mishandled Bags were 6 per 1000 passengers

Graph: Qantas

It’s much the same for ‘mishandled’ bags but suffice to say that if you are one of the six per 1,000 passengers left standing at the carousel when the music stopped, that’s still six too many. It is good that Qantas is setting some benchmarks for itself, and so long as they are consistent, then they are effective indicators. Just don’t rely on them to actually say what you think they mean.

Is this why Virgin Australia dumped Good and replaced it with Great in its new advertising campaign? What do you think of these measurements?

  • https://simpleflying.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Qantas-Yam-Dreaming-Livery-Boeing-787-9-Dreamliner-VH-ZND-4-1000x1000.jpg


    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Brisbane Airport, Melbourne Airport, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

    Year Founded:


    Alan Joyce


Source: simpleflying.com

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