Published on 22nd January 2024 at 10:39
  • 16th consecutive month as most on time major domestic airline.
  • Factors outside Qantas’ control (including weather and air traffic control) impacted December on time performance by 8.2 percentage points.
  • Five percentage point improvement in Qantas’ 2023 on time performance compared with 2022; cancellations fell by 1.5 percentage points.
  • Significant improvement in overall customer satisfaction in December and January.

Qantas was again the most punctual major domestic airline during a very busy December as the industry dealt with storms, air traffic control staffing shortages and peak holiday demand.

The latest government data released today shows Qantas (Qantas and QantasLink combined) departed on time 69.5 per cent of the time in December, compared to its major domestic competitor at 56.5 per cent. This is the 16th consecutive month that Qantas has been the most on time major domestic airline but still shows significant room for improvement in absolute terms.

Qantas’ overall cancellation rate was around half that of its major competitor (3.7 per cent vs 7.5 per cent).

Just over 62 per cent of Jetstar’s flights departed on time in December, with 5.5 per cent of flights cancelled. Uncontrollable factors – chiefly weather and air traffic control issues – accounted for 8.2 percentage points of on time performance in December for Qantas and 7.9 percentage points for Jetstar. Factors outside of the airlines’ control were responsible for roughly half of all Qantas and Jetstar’s cancellations for the month (1.8 and 3 percentage points respectively).

Tropical Cyclone Jasper caused disruptions across northern Queensland on eight days in December, including four days where Cairns Airport was closed. Other major storm activity along the East Coast caused disruptions on a further nine days of the month.

Air Traffic Control workforce shortages continue to cause delays and cancellations, with Airservices Australia reporting this as the cause of 16 per cent of the total ground delays and 6 per cent of cancellations at Australia’s four major airports during December[1].

More than 75 per cent of Qantas flights have departed on time so far in January.


Additional investments in operational reliability and customer experience, which were announced in September 2023 and rolling out progressively since, are starting to improve the journey of millions of passengers. Those investments include having more spare aircraft on standby, improvements to catering, introduction of baggage tracking via the Qantas app and changes to customer recovery when flights are significantly disrupted. (More details of all initiatives can be found here.)

All of these steps saw the airline’s key measure of customer satisfaction (net promoter score) more than double from November to December for Qantas Domestic and double for Qantas International. This trend has continued into January and reflects the efforts of thousands of our people. Significant work is still required to reach target levels which, after safety, remains the Group’s key focus.


Qantas flights departed on time 74.1 per cent of the time in the 2023 calendar year, compared to 67.1 per cent for its major competitor. Qantas cancelled 3.5 per cent of flights compared to 4.2 per cent for its major domestic competitor.

Qantas’ overall on time performance for 2023 was almost 5 percentage points better than the percentage of flights that departed on time in 2022. Qantas cancellations dropped by 1.5 per cent year on year.


[1] Australian Aviation Network Overview December 2023.