What are the most “on time” airports and airlines in Australia?

Air travel intelligence company OAG has published its annual rankings of airlines and airport punctuality around the world, ranking hundreds from all over the world. So where do Australia’s airports and airlines sit against each other – and against the rest of the world?

What OAG is looking at is on-time performance, or OTP. For airports, this considers departing and arriving flights, and for the flights themselves, they’re only looking at the arrival time. To be considered “on time” the airline must arrive within 15 minutes of schedule.

Looking first at the airports around the country, the report only considered locations that attracted at least 2.5 million seats a year – a figure which only 7 domestic airports achieved in 2016.

At the top of the list is the smallest of these airports, Cairns, with a OTP of 87.23%. It was new to the rankings in 2015 and the 2016 list saw it shoot up the “Small Airports” list (2.5m to 5m annual seats) to 7th place internationally, also serving as the only Asia Pacific airport in the top 20. Australia’s only other small airport – Gold Coast – didn’t rank with a 79.73% OTP – and comes out as number 6 on the domestic list, with only Melbourne ranking lower.

Sitting in second place is Brisbane with a 86.71% OTP, which also sits it as the number 5 “Large Airport” in the world (10–20m annual seats). Interestingly, Surabaya, Indonesia, tops that list, with Honolulu and Salt Lake City taking out the second and third spots. Perth is Australia’s third ranking airport, with 85.86% OTP – which sits it as number 8 in the world in the “Medium Airport” category (5–10m annual seats). Adelaide sneaks in just behind it with 84.90% OTP, which also places it number 10 in the world in its category.

Australia’s two largest airports – Sydney and Melbourne – each attracting more than 20m annual seats – both ended up towards the bottom of the list, with Sydney in 5th (81.81% OTP) and Melbourne in last (79.65% OTP). That was enough for Sydney to sit at number 13 in the world for “Major Airports”, though Melbourne didn’t make the top 20. The top ranking major airport in the world is Tokyo Haneda, followed by Sao Paulo Guarulhos and Detroit.

  1. Cairns (CNS) – 87.23% OTP
  2. Brisbane (BNE) – 86.71% OTP
  3. Perth (PER) – 85.86% OTP
  4. Adelaide (ADL) – 84.90% OTP
  5. Sydney (SYD) – 81.81% OTP
  6. Gold Coast (OOL) – 79.73% OTP
  7. Melbourne (MEL) – 79.65% OTP

As for airlines, the most punctual “mainline” airline in the world (e.g. excluding low cost carriers) was named Hawaiian Airlines, which moved up from 9th place in 2015 with an impressive 89.87% OTP. Of course this airline flies between Honolulu and Australia, though Australia’s best performing airline was Qantas – with a 87.56% OTP and a 4th place ranking. Virgin Australia came 12th, with a 84.52% OTP.

Jetstar, meanwhile, just scraped into the top 20 Low Cost Carrier list, at number 19 with a 73.66% OTP. For those playing at home, topping that specific list was Monarch Airlines. Tiger Airways was not featured on the list, nor were any other of the smaller regional airlines – e.g. Rex – as airlines must have operated a minimum of 18,000 flights in 2016 to qualify.

The OAG Punctuality League is derived from the most comprehensive airline schedules database in the world and is the most transparent global benchmark for the world’s airlines and airports. The report is available online http://www.oag.com/punctuality-league-2016.