23 Mar 2016
Better runway operations, a smoother running air traffic control network and programs to improve the predictability of aircraft arrivals rates.
These are some of the factors that helped Australian airlines start the calendar year with strong on-time performance (OTP) statistics that built on last year’s good showing in international punctuality comparisons.
Near record OTP results for February come after the OAG flightview 2015 punctuality league earlier this year saw six Australian airports and the nation’s major airlines in the global top 20 when it came to OTP, with our three biggest airports in the top 10.
Brisbane came in fourth in the OAG 10-20 million passengers per year medium airport category while Sydney ranked fifth and Melbourne sixth in the large category for airports handling more than 20 million passengers.
The small airport category of less than 10 million passengers a year saw Adelaide at seventh, Perth at eleventh and Cairns enter the top 20 for the first time at thirteenth.
In addition, Virgin Australia was ranked tenth and Qantas fourteenth in the mainline category for airlines, while Jetstar was fifteenth in the low cost carrier category.
However, the airlines eclipsed the OAG results with February on-time performance figures from the Bureau of Infrastructure Transport and Regional Economics this week hailed as the third best on record.
Participating airlines Jetstar, Qantas, QantasLink, Regional Express, Tigerair, Virgin Australia and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines average 90.3 per cent for both on-time arrivals and on-time departures. Punctuality at Virgin and Qantas mainline operations went even further to top a world-class 93 per cent for arrivals and departures.
The February figures significantly surpassed the long term average performance figures of 84.7 per cent for on-time departures and 82.7 per cent for arrivals.
Cancellations were also down to 1.2 per cent, compared to a long-term average of 1.4 per cent.
The good results stem from improved cooperation between airports, airlines and air traffic control, according to Airservices Australia Executive General Manager Air Traffic Control Greg Hood.
Mr Hood said this included greater discipline by airlines in the way they managed their schedules as well as improved airport management that boosted efficiency on the ground.
This was reinforced by the way Airservices managed the aviation network to improve traffic flow.
“It’s about the whole picture,’’ he said. “It’s about managing the network, it’s about airfield design, it’s about compliance of the airlines with their pre-tactical slot times.
“And it’s about the fact the whole face of the industry is now not about individual preferences of how you fly the aeroplane but on predictability and standardised speeds and making sure everything we do in aviation is pretty much standardised across the industry.’’