When will the pain end for Jetstar?

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 10-Feb-2016 21:22

The news media has been full of horror stories about Jetstar in recent months - and those stories will continue as Jetstar have finally released their official on-time figures for December and January

In December 2015 Jetstar’s NZ on-time performance (% of departures within 15 minutes of the scheduled time) was 64.4%. Compare this to Air New Zealand who sat at 90.8% for the month for jet services and 84.5% for regional services. January was no better for Jetstar, with on-timer performance figure only increasing to 65.2%.

It’s no secret that the wheels are falling off Jetstar’s New Zealand operations, and this further adds to the pain. There were days leading up to Christmas where flights to Sydney were cancelled multiple days in a row due to aircraft being unavailable, and compound delays of over 7 hours on their 6 daily services between Wellington and Auckland. Trying to run aircraft with extremely high daily utilisation means that delays are hard to recover from, and their current schedule simply can’t cope. Their problems aren’t just not meeting the 15 min timeframe, they’re that delays are routinely 3+ hours once aircraft are delayed.

Sure competition is great, but right now Jetstar are not competition for Air New Zealand. They’re the laughing stock of the airline industry. Sure their prices may be cheaper, and if you’re willing to arrive at your destination +/- 2 days they’re probably an OK option..  For those who want to arrive on time, they’re a risk not work taking.

Jetstar long claimed they were NZ’s most punctual airline, and Air New Zealand was mocked by many for targeting this in marketing campaigns as a lie. The stats don’t lie however, and they should be incredibly embarrassing for Jetstar and their industry partners.

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Comment by Dulouz, on 11-Feb-2016 09:05

I agree Jetstar service is complete rubbish. You'd have to be mental to use their service.

Comment by Linuxluver, on 11-Feb-2016 10:23

I've never flown Jetstar. I saw little value in undermining the established, reliable service provider that I partly own as a (largely) public asset. 

Comment by johnr, on 11-Feb-2016 16:36

flown jetstar many times and not a single flight delayed or late

Comment by Linuxluver, on 11-Feb-2016 17:16

You'd be in the 66% then, Johnr. Those are reasonable odds... :-)  

Comment by empacher48, on 11-Feb-2016 19:13

It would be worth noting that Air New Zealand flights departed within 10 minutes of their scheduled time 90.8% of the time for Jet services and 84.5% for regional services.

Jetstar use 15 minutes, so it sounds even worse.

Comment by freitasm, on 12-Feb-2016 23:51

I've flown many times on Air New Zealand and personally I can count on one hand the number of times a plane pulled out of the gate on time - it is always ten minutes later than the schedule departure. Landing is usually on time but it would be nice to not have to always rely on contingencies...

Comment by ajobbins, on 16-Feb-2016 15:49

Yes, JQ have had a few bad months in NZ, but far too early to be calling the"wheels are falling off".

For most of last year, and the year before their OTP was on par with Air NZ. I too have flown JQ many, many times and have yet to have an issue. That day will surely come, but it has already come numerous times with NZ. As you know, most of my travel is TT. If JQ cancel a flight, i usually have a number of other JQ or QF services they can place me on within minutes or hours - and for time sensetive travel my travel insurance covers alternative transport if necessary.

The fact of the matter is JQ are a low cost, high utilisation carrier. There are risks to that, both for them and for their customers and that risk comes with the lower cost  - however, they will be doing everything they can to fix those OTP figures as cancellations and delays are hugely expensive for them. They have a model that have proven to work most of the time and I have no doubt they will recover.

And at least they know what they are. Air NZ still act (and charge) like they are a full service carrier, despite being little more than a Jetstar with lower aircraft utilisation these days.

I also doubt they are "They’re the laughing stock of the airline industry." I'm sure Air NZ and their loyalists would like to think that's the case (And it probably is within that group), but I doubt JQ are selling any less tickets

Comment by wlgspotter, on 24-Feb-2016 11:17

I, too, like a few people here, have traveled on JQ a number of times and I have only ever come acorss once where the plane was delayed.  That was when I was travelling on AKL-WLG in Feb 2015, and I could hardly call that delay JQ's fault.  apparently, someone on the aircraft operating the inbound flight (a/c came in from CHC) decided to tell other people that there was a bomb on board and hence there was a full security lock down and search of the aircraft when it came in.  

And, speaking on OTP figures and stats, I find it intriguing both Air NZ and JQ uses a "two digit" minutes to measure a delay, in NZ's case it is 10 mins, JQ 15 minutes.  Apparently, SATS (Singapore Airport Terminal Services Pte Ltd - one of the major ground handling agents at Singapore's Changi Airport) denotes anything pushing back from the gate of > 3 minutes as a delay...

Comment by ajobbins, on 25-Feb-2016 12:58

Not sure where the 10 minutes OTP number for Air NZ is coming from. I've only seen 15 minutes from Air NZ, Jetstar, Qantas and on the BITRE reporting that rolls all the A/NZ airlines up.

Air NZ's website OTP page says 15 minutes.

Comment by jonb, on 26-Feb-2016 13:09

I suspect Air NZ has very good PR people, who manage to feed lots of stories to stuff.co.nz and the herald about negative Jetstar performance whilst keeping bad experiences with Air NZ out of the news.

Comment by richrdh18, on 7-Mar-2016 08:31

Well with Jetstar coming to provinces, PMR we gave them a chance, booked flights to Akl to attend Madonna concert, flights changed 3 times since the original booking, we were due to fly 5 mar '16, i decided to check the flight status at around 8am, and what would you know, Flight Cancelled, no notice, email, txt or phone call.  Lucky for us we checked and had enough time to drive from PN to Akl.  I guess this would not have been the case for those turning up for their flight at midday.  Never again Jetstar, we gave you a chance and you blew it.

Comment by elpenguino, on 10-Mar-2016 22:23

Do we like to whack 'em just cos they're aussie?

sbiddle's profile

Steve Biddle
New Zealand

I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.

I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)

  -xDSL deployments

*Structured cabling
  -Home/office cabling
  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
  -WAN/LAN solutions

*Wireless solutions
  -Motel/Hotel hotspot deployments
  -Outdoor wireless deployments, both small and large scale
  -Temporary wireless deployments
*CCTV solutions
  -Analogue and IP

I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.

+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.

You can contact me here or by email at stevenbiddle@gmail.com