It looks like Virgin Australia has made good on CEO John Borghetti's promise to beat Qantas in punctuality by the end of this year.
In the period before the current round of strikes began to hammer Qantas' on-time record by forcing extensive cancellations and delays, Virgin Australia achieved 84.4 percent for on-time arrivals, as measured by the Federal Government's Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).
This was just ahead of Qantas' 83.1 percent for on-time arrivals. (Note that according to the number-crunchers at BITRE, flights are counted as "on time" if they arrive or depart from the gate within 15 minutes of their scheduled time.)
Averaged on-time performance across arrivals and departures sees Virgin Australia just in front at 85.4 percent, with Qantas trailing at 84 percent. That's a narrow gap, to be sure, but it's a gap all the same and it favours Virgin Australia.
As Australian Business Traveller reported, CEO John Borghetti promised to beat Qantas in punctuality, telling a business event in Sydney, "We will have industry leading performance by the end of this year."
Qantas has consistently lead Australia's airlines when it comes to punctuality but the impact of industrial action against Qantas can be seen in the most recent BITRE report issued for September 2011, which shows Qantas' on-time figures slump to an average of 80 percent while Virgin Australia nudged slightly north to 85.5 percent.
(How did the other airlines fare? Jetstar managed 82.1 percent for on-time arrivals across September, Regional Express 86.9 percent and Skywest 86.7 percent.)
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.