In August, Rex has once again emerged as Australia’s most reliable airline. Official government statistics show Rex had the best on-time performance and the lowest cancelation rate of any Australian carrier last month.
The results come from the monthly Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) report. It is a collection of operating data from Jetstar, Qantas, Qantaslink, Rex Airlines, Virgin Australia and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines. These airlines collectively carried more than 95% of total domestic passengers (regular public transport only) in 2019.
Rex is the clear leader for OTP and cancelations
This is the 7th Boeing B737-800 to join Rex’s domestic fleet, with two more to be added as soon as possible. Photo: Rex
On time performance (OTP) is defined as a flight that arrives at or departs from the gate within fifteen minutes of the scheduled time shown in the carrier’s schedule. A flight removed from services within seven days of scheduled departure is considered a cancelation.
For August 2022, OTP for all airlines over all routes averaged 68.5% for on-time arrivals (OTA), 68.8% for on time departures (OTD) and the cancelation rate was 3.2%. The equivalent figures for August 2021, were 89.3%, 89.5% and 23% respectively. BITRE has collected the data since 2003, and this year’s August results are all considerably worse than the long-term averages, which are 81.9% for OTA, 83.1% for OTD and 2.1% for cancelations.
Rex was by far the standout airline on all three metrics and is clearly propping up the industry averages. Regarding departures, 82.2% of Rex flights departed on time, compared to Virgin Australia 69.5%, Qantas 67.2%, Jetstar 56.9% and the industry average of 68.8%. Rex also led the way for arrivals with 79% on time, followed by Virgin Australia 69.2%, Qantas 67.2%, Jetstar 59.6% and the industry average of 68.5%.
For August, Rex canceled 0.8% of its flights, Virgin Australia 2.5%, Qantas 3.9%, Jetstar 5.4% and the average rate was 3.2%, four times worse than what Rex achieved. Australia’s busiest route is between Sydney and Melbourne, and in August, it was also the most heavily canceled at around 11% on both sectors. Rex canceled 0.7% of flights from Sydney to Melbourne, compared to Qantas 16.5%, Jetstar 13.4% and Virgin Australia 5.9%, with comparable figures for the Melbourne-Sydney sector.
Commenting on the August results, deputy chairman John Sharp credited the leading performance to Rex’s staff, who he says are prepared to go above and beyond to provide a safe, affordable, reliable service.
“Contrary to what other carriers want you to believe, shocking reliability and equally appalling customer service is not an inevitable outcome, even in today’s very challenging environment. Rex will operate [more than] 80,000 flights over the next year, around 20% of all domestic flights, and we are able to keep our OTP and cancelation rate close to pre-COVID levels.”
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All clear for National Jet Express takeover
The Cobham Aviation/NJE Bombardier Q400s will head to Rex. Photo: Cobham Aviation
In more good news for the independent regional and domestic carrier, Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) has cleared the way for its acquisition of National Jet Express from Cobham Aviation Services Australia. National Jet Express uses a fleet of eight Bombardier Q400s and six Embraer E190s, mainly on fly-in fly-out (FIFO) services to remote resource locations. Rex said that with approval from the FIRB and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, all the regulatory hurdles had now been cleared, and it expects to complete the purchase on September 30.