Airline calls for flight delay records


Pacific Blue is calling on the Government to force airlines to make their on-time performance records public, despite lengthy delays on its new domestic network.

It has written to Transport Minister Annette King and Consumer Affairs Minister Judith Tizard urging the Government to set a reporting standard for airlines to state how often they are on time and the frequency of delays.

Virgin Blue Airlines Group chief executive Brett Godfrey said the move would give the consumer a transparent view of which airlines were more likely to get them to their destination on time.

Pacific Blue recently came under fire from passengers who faced overnight delays. In November the airline recorded its worst on-time performance result in more than three years, with 78 per cent of flights on time.

The figure was for the overall Virgin Blue group, which includes flights to the Pacific Islands and Australia.

Pacific Blue launched its domestic service, between Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, in November.

Mr Godfrey said there had been serious improvement in the last couple of weeks, with domestic and international on-time figures “in the 80s”.

In the past week, more than 93 per cent of Pacific Blue flights were on time on all days except for two, Mr Godfrey said.

It had suffered some problems with its ground equipment breaking down, but had now contracted Menzies Aviation to handle the equipment. It also had new backup agreements in place with Air New Zealand.

“We had some people critical of our on-time performance and to be frank, all airlines have on-time performance issues. But you can never honestly determine who’s got the better one until you’re in a position where the Government mandates compulsory disclosure.”

On-time performance information was recorded internally by airlines but there was no requirement in New Zealand for them to release the information publicly.

Mr Godfrey said he was happy to disclose Pacific Blue’s on-time performance if all other airlines did the same.

An Air New Zealand spokesman said it would support publicly sharing on-time performance if agreement could be reached on reporting standards.