Qantas leads punctuality in challenging December

Australian Government data released this week reveals that Qantas – combining both Qantas and QantasLink – achieved an impressive on-time departure rate of 69.5 percent.

This OTP result surpassing its major domestic competitor by a significant margin, which stood at 56.5 percent.

December Performance Metrics

One of the key performance metrics for commercial operations is on-time performance (OTP). Qantas’ on-time performance in December saw on-time departures 69.5 percent of the time; surpassing its major competitor by 13 percentage points.

This statistic is notable but also emphasizes the room for continuous improvement.

Cancellation Rates

Qantas’ previous commitment to improving its general customer satisfaction is perhaps evident in its cancellation rates.

The airline boasted an overall cancellation rate of 3.7 percent for December, roughly half that of its major competitor, which reported a 7.5 percent cancellation rate.

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External Factors

While weather and air traffic control issues contributed to 8.2 percentage points of on-time performance for Qantas, the airline appears to have managed these external challenges.

In comparison, Jetstar faced a similar scenario with 7.9 percentage points attributed to uncontrollable factors.

Robert Frola (GFDL or GFDL), via Wikimedia Commons

Cyclones and Storms: A Battle in the Skies

Tropical Cyclone Jasper wreaked havoc in northern Queensland, causing disruptions for eight days in December, including the closure of Cairns Airport for four days.

Additionally, storm activities along the East Coast further complicated air travel on nine days. Despite these challenges, Qantas demonstrated an operational resilience through the period.

Air Traffic Control Issues

Air Traffic Control workforce shortages were a common issue leading to delays and cancellations, responsible for 16 percent of ground delays and 6 percent of cancellations at major Australian airports in December. Qantas managed to maintain a generally robust operational performance.

Qantas Airbus A330.
Robert Frola (GFDL or GFDL ), via Wikimedia Commons

Customer Satisfaction Initiatives

Qantas has invested significantly in operational reliability and enhancing the overall customer experience.

Initiatives announced in September 2023, including increased standby aircraft, catering improvements, baggage tracking via the Qantas app, and enhanced customer recovery during disruptions, have begun to yield positive results.

These efforts have contributed to a remarkable surge in the airline’s key measure of customer satisfaction, the net promoter score.

The score more than doubled from November to December for Qantas Domestic and doubled for Qantas International.

This upward trend has persisted into January, reflecting the dedication of Qantas to elevate customer satisfaction levels, a focal point beyond safety.


In the broader context of 2023, Qantas demonstrated a general consistency. With flights departing on time 74.1 percent of the time, the airline outpaced its major competitor, boasting a 7 percent lead.

In tandem with this, Qantas exhibited a cancellation rate of 3.5 percent, surpassing its competitor’s 4.2 percent.

Comparing these figures to the previous year, Qantas showcased a notable improvement, with a nearly 5 percent increase in on-time performance and a 1.5 percent reduction in cancellations.

More than 75 percent of Qantas flights have departed on time in January to date, indicating a promising level of punctuality and operational efficiency into the New Year.

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