VA Cancellations, Delays growing?

One of my friends is having a rant on my Facebook feed, 8pm MEL/SYD cancelled, put on 9pm which they then cancelled, now offering via Brisbane or Adelaide in the morning, earliest they can get to Sydney is 230pm. Ended up booking Rex first thing.
 
The lounge in Melbourne tonight had plenty of people affected by cancellations and put onto flights tomorrow. Couple beside me had been in the lounge for 8 hours, a lady in J tonight was complaining about a 6 hour delay. It’s certainly starting to get noticeable.

Flight out of Brisbane yesterday morning, first one was missing a CM which held us up a little bit - but equally not the first time I’ve seen the plane loaded while a CM is found in recent months.
 
This all seems very shoddy behaviour by VA. It really is time that appropriate delay and cancellation policies are legally brought to Australia. Accountability is lacking.
 
I have a VA flight next week from OOL to SYD (3:20 pm) to connect with an overseas flight. Currently allowing 4 hours to make the connection, according to schedules.

Sounds like I could possibly miss the Intl flight with the current shenanigans, so I might just book an alternative from OOL to have a better chance of making it. Missing the flight in Sydney would have dire repercussions.

Edit: Looks like there have been a couple of cancellations since 1 October with this particular flight, but half a dozen or so have landed around an hour late. Do I roll the dice....
Buy a QF ($$$$$) flight from BNE - SYD.
Take the very first train from OOL to BNE and then Airtrain, they might even be the same train, to the int airport.
Yes, not cheap, for any of these prepositions, but I think with VA going "mid range" or LCC more so, there is no hope of any certainty of making it.
Or buy a BNE - SYD rail tix, (I know, near impossible with bags), the day before, if you have no work commitments that day.
---
There is an XPT dep BNE at 15:00 3pm getting into SYD at 6:59 7am next day.
That's according to goways, but NSW trains, has a 5.00 (am) dep, from BNE/13:30 (pm).
 
Last edited:
For me I think the biggest issue is ATC. I raised this in another thread a couple months ago, and lots of good and valid explanations given for why we seem to have such slow ATC in AU.

But having just come back from Europe and the USA, it really is noticeable how slow we are here. Two planes could take off while we’re waiting for one plane to land.

Are our safety margins just too high? Planes aren’t dropping out of the sky across EU and US because planes are being zippered for arrivals and departures much closer than they seem to be in OZ.

Having FR24 open during taxi you can see the safety margins built in. And it seems to vary. Some weeks they seem to get it spot on and planes aren’t waiting around forever. Other weeks it’s just ‘off’ and the amount of time 0lanes spend queueing for takeoff is just too long.

But my biggest bug is the reason for delay being the ‘late inbound’. As in somehow it’s the aircraft’s fault for being late arriving.

No, people and operations are responsible for the late inbound. A late inbound doesn’t excuse poor operations for the rest of the day.

VA also claims a 35 minute turnaround from landing to departure. I haven’t seen that once this year in 75+ flights. It’s pretty much an hour. Dunno why the airline persists in believing it’s own myth.
 
The Frequent Flyer Concierge team takes the hard work out of finding reward seat availability. Using their expert knowledge and specialised tools, they'll help you book a great trip that maximises the value for your points.

AFF Supporters can remove this and all advertisements

ATC are not behind the reasons for Virgin’s current performance issues.
I can’t answer for behind the scenes. But plenty of times it takes a good 30 minutes from pushback to takeoff… just sitting at a the runway, waiting 2-3 minutes for an incoming aircraft, inching forward.

Uk and USA would have had two planes depart in that time. Multiply that delay across the operations of that aircraft for the day and you get an hour’s worth of delays.
 
Buy a QF ($$$$$) flight from BNE - SYD.
Take the very first train from OOL to BNE and then Airtrain, they might even be the same train, to the int airport.
Yes, not cheap, for any of these prepositions, but I think with VA going "mid range" or LCC more so, there is no hope of any certainty of making it.
Or buy a BNE - SYD rail tix, (I know, near impossible with bags), the day before, if you have no work commitments that day.
---
There is an XPT dep BNE at 15:00 3pm getting into SYD at 6:59 7am next day.
That's according to goways, but NSW trains, has a 5.00 (am) dep, from BNE/13:30 (pm).
Yes, if it looks like the VA OOL-SYD flight will be severely delayed or cancelled, there are several options, including BNE as you mention, and QF, ZL and JQ ex OOL. I'll be watching very carefully.
 
For me I think the biggest issue is ATC. I raised this in another thread a couple months ago, and lots of good and valid explanations given for why we seem to have such slow ATC in AU.

But having just come back from Europe and the USA, it really is noticeable how slow we are here. Two planes could take off while we’re waiting for one plane to land.

Are our safety margins just too high? Planes aren’t dropping out of the sky across EU and US because planes are being zippered for arrivals and departures much closer than they seem to be in OZ.

Having FR24 open during taxi you can see the safety margins built in. And it seems to vary. Some weeks they seem to get it spot on and planes aren’t waiting around forever. Other weeks it’s just ‘off’ and the amount of time 0lanes spend queueing for takeoff is just too long.

But my biggest bug is the reason for delay being the ‘late inbound’. As in somehow it’s the aircraft’s fault for being late arriving.

No, people and operations are responsible for the late inbound. A late inbound doesn’t excuse poor operations for the rest of the day.

VA also claims a 35 minute turnaround from landing to departure. I haven’t seen that once this year in 75+ flights. It’s pretty much an hour. Dunno why the airline persists in believing it’s own myth.
Having worked at Airservices and its predecessors for several years, my view (from experience) is that the operational staff are ultra conservative and wouldn't allow any reduction in margins without a major fight. And they hold all the aces (what's the alternative?). Ask Dick Smith
 
Having worked at Airservices and its predecessors for several years, my view (from experience) is that the operational staff are ultra conservative and wouldn't allow any reduction in margins without a major fight. And they hold all the aces (what's the alternative?). Ask Dick Smith
Yeah, dunno what the solution is, but I’m slightly reassured I’m not totally losing my mind by comparison to overseas. One take-off and landing every 5 minutes at somewhere like MEL should have room to tighten.

A couple weeks back MEL seemed to operate perfectly, just the right time between landing and takeoffs. Last couple weeks back to the usual lengthy waits.
 
I can’t answer for behind the scenes. But plenty of times it takes a good 30 minutes from pushback to takeoff… just sitting at a the runway, waiting 2-3 minutes for an incoming aircraft, inching forward.

Uk and USA would have had two planes depart in that time. Multiply that delay across the operations of that aircraft for the day and you get an hour’s worth of delays.
I agree. Often thought this. I do laugh at Perth as an example. Desperate for a third runway at 22 million I think it is pax a year. Look at what Heathrow handles with two runways and more impressive, Gatwick with one! Add in the complications of ATC around the London TMA. There are many other examples in Europe. Yes Australia has disillusions of grandour in all airport operations and is antiquated. Don't get me started with all this domestic and international terminal separation nonsense of half an hour apart also for effectively low (in comparison to other countries) pax throughout.
 
I agree. Often thought this. I do laugh at Perth as an example. Desperate for a third runway at 22 million I think it is pax a year. Look at what Heathrow handles with two runways and more impressive, Gatwick with one! Add in the complications of ATC around the London TMA. There are many other examples in Europe. Yes Australia has disillusions of grandour in all airport operations and is antiquated. Don't get me started with all this domestic and international terminal separation nonsense of half an hour apart also for effectively low (in comparison to other countries) pax throughout.
Yes! Good point. Gatwick apparently handles around 55 movements an hour. MEL does what… 30? (The MEL airport website says its three runways are equipped to handle *up to* 65 movements an hour… but I’d like to know if that’s ever achieved?)
 
Having FR24 open during taxi you can see the safety margins built in. And it seems to vary. Some weeks they seem to get it spot on and planes aren’t waiting around forever. Other weeks it’s just ‘off’ and the amount of time 0lanes spend queueing for takeoff is just too long.

Funnily enough, I did just that at MEL last week, sitting in a B737 bound for HBA, next to depart. Three inbound aircraft, all neatly spaced.

Watched the first land, I thought, off we go. But no - landing aircraft departed the runway and we then waited until the next one landed. I thought, damn, we'll have to wait for the next one too ... and by that time, another inbound had joined the queue.

But no, we zipped onto the runway and hit the accelerator.

Of course airport types will tell me that its to do with margin, aircraft type etc.

(The MEL airport website says its three runways are equipped to handle *up to* 65 movements an hour… but I’d like to know if that’s ever achieved?)

Does MEL ever operate with three runways? One seems common these days in my recent visits.
________________

I must say my recent experience with VA hasn't been too bad, but then I usually fly mid morning or mid afternoon and rarely on the golden triangle. I'd never schedule the last flight of the day on a particular route on any airline.

@clifford - for a domestic connection to an international flight, my policy is to go domestic the night before, unless its an international departure in the late afternoon/evening, then I go same day but with at least 2 of the domestic departures after mine. More expensive in $ and time, but my stress levels are kept low.
 
Sponsored Post

Struggling to use your Frequent Flyer Points?

Frequent Flyer Concierge takes the hard work out of finding award availability and redeeming your frequent flyer or credit card points for flights.

Using their expert knowledge and specialised tools, the Frequent Flyer Concierge team at Frequent Flyer Concierge will help you book a great trip that maximises the value for your points.

Yes! Good point. Gatwick apparently handles around 55 movements an hour. MEL does what… 30? (The MEL airport website says its three runways are equipped to handle *up to* 65 movements an hour… but I’d like to know if that’s ever achieved?)

55 is the maximum rate per hour, not the average rate.

I'm not sure what apples & oranges metrics you are using, but if you take MEL's monthly rate for September (19906), that's 27.6 moves per hour spread over 24 hours. Of course we know that traffic is minimal between 2200-0600, and will surge in peak periods, so there's not a constant flow of traffic throughout the day. During peak periods it is likely to get closer to 60 than to 30 per hour.

I can't find 2023 stats for Gatwick, but the 2022 total was 213034, making that 17752 per month, and 24.6 per hour.

I'd also like to note that although MEL has two runways, they are crossing. Crossing runways aren't twice as efficient as a single runway (like parallel runways are, ie SYD/BNE). Better than one, but not as good as two parallels.

There's also a huge assumption that MEL is the limitation here, which seems like a flawed assumption considering neither MEL or LGW have exceeded their pre-covid passenger records.

Having worked at Airservices and its predecessors for several years, my view (from experience) is that the operational staff are ultra conservative and wouldn't allow any reduction in margins without a major fight. And they hold all the aces (what's the alternative?). Ask Dick Smith

Don't blame the operational staff, they follow the standards in MATS (Manual of Air Traffic Services). Some of the standards in this document are over conservative, but that's imposed by management and the regulators, the latter of which are in the business of preventing accidents, and are less concerned with efficiency.
 
MEL can only use two runways when winds allow, as soon as MEL gets down to single runway delays tend to occur.
Also our capital city airports see a lot more props than LHR/LGW etc and sequencing different approach speeds which leads to less efficiency of the runways
 

Become an AFF member!

Join Australian Frequent Flyer (AFF) for free and enjoy a better viewing experience, as well as full participation on our community forums.

AFF members can also access our Frequent Flyer Training courses, and upgrade to enjoy lots of other benefits and discounts!

AFF forum abbreviations

Wondering about Y, J or any of the other abbreviations used on our forum?

Check out our guide to common AFF acronyms & abbreviations.
Back
Top