Travelling for work? The airports with the most flight delays revealed

Man waiting at an airport

Business travellers who visit Hobart Airport are the most likely to experience flight delays, according to an analysis by comparison website

In contrast, individuals flying out of Townsville Airport in Queensland are the least likely to encounter interruptions to their schedules.

Read more: Three steps to make sure your business has travel security covered

The findings are based on data about the performance of domestic airports and airlines over the 12 months ending June 2016, sourced from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.

Townsville Airport recorded the highest percentage of on-time flight departures for the period at 90.7%, followed closely by both Adelaide and Perth airports at 90.1%.

Flights out of Brisbane were on time 89.7% of the time, while Canberra recorded an on-time departure rate of 88.3%.

Sydney and Melbourne came in further down the list, with 84.8% of flights out of both major airports leaving on time, while Hobart Airport recorded the lowest percentage of on-time departures at 78.2%.

Virgin Australia topped Finder’s list of the most reliable domestic airlines by recording an on-time arrival rate of 89.5%.

Qantas and Qantas Link were next in line, with on-time arrival rates of 88.8% and 86.4%, respectively, followed by Regional Express at 85.5%.

Tigerair Australia showed the greatest improvement from the year before, increasing its on-time arrival rate by 5.1 percentage points to 84.4%, while Virgin Australia Regional’s rate of on-time arrivals dropped 1% to 83.8%.

Jetstar recorded the largest fall in the percentage of its flights that arrived on time, dropping 4.7 percentage points to 78.2% for 2015-16.

Overall, 1.6% of domestic flights were cancelled in the 12 months ending June 2016, which comes to a long term average of 1.4%.

What to do if you flight is delayed

While interruptions to travel plans such as flight delays are more often than not out of a business traveller’s control, Fred Schebesta, co-founder and director of, says there are several steps to take to minimise the impact on your business.

The first is to understand what is happening in the place you are flying to, and therefore any factors that may cause a flight to be delayed.

“Even if you visit a city regularly, it’s important to keep an eye on the local news agenda before you head off,” Schebesta told SmartCompany.

“This will help you get a sense of the current political situation, business etiquette, and general affairs so you don’t look or act like a fish out of water. It is also a good idea to check out a website like Smart Traveller to get a sense of any safety risks before you agree to go.”

Travel insurance is worth considering, even if you are only travelling within Australia, says Schebesta.

“Unfortunately, the more you travel, the more there is a chance of something going wrong, from lost luggage to flight delays and cancellations, accommodation issues, or technology issues. These issues are all annoying when they do happen but even more of a costly nuisance when you don’t have travel insurance.”

Business travellers should also make sure they are contactable in the event there are changes to their itinerary, and that they can get in touch with head office or with the people they are travelling with. This means thinking about things like having your phone charger and appropriate adapters handy, and if travelling overseas, looking into how much international roaming will cost.

Finally, Schebesta recommends having a digital map of the place you’re travelling to handy.

“Getting lost is extremely frustrating in any city, but especially when you’re late for an important meeting,” he says.


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