Sydney-to-Canberra route among most commonly cancelled flights in Australia

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A passenger plane flies over a barbed wire fence as it approaches Sydney airport February 23, 2010.
A passenger plane flies over a barbed wire fence as it approaches Sydney airport February 23, 2010. Reuters/Tim Wimborne

The route between Sydney and the national capital is one of the most commonly cancelled in Australia. Up to 38 flights were cancelled on the Sydney-to-Canberra route last month, according to new Infrastructure Department figures.

The latest figures are lower compared to 43 flights cancelled in October. September was not a good month to fly from Sydney towards the territory, with 59 flights not cleared for take-off.

In November alone, routes between Melbourne and Sydney had 133 cancelled flights. The cancellation rate is still fairly low at only around 2.7 percent.

Flights from Dubbo to Sydney had the highest cancellation rate in the country in November. It was followed by the Sydney-to-Canberra route.

Those flying the opposite way from Canberra to Sydney also had to deal with cancelled flights last month when there were 36 cancelled flights. Between the two cities, that was a combined total of 74 cancelled flights in 30 days. Flights between Canberra and Sydney topped in October at 8.1 percent.

Both Canberra Airport's owners and customers have expressed concern regarding the high rates of cancellations to and from the capital. But the federal government said last month it would not seek to interfere with the issue, rejecting calls for a national task force to address complaints from stranded passengers. Former Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester rejected calls for Canberra Airport boss Stephen Byron for federal intervention, ​The Canberra Times reports.

Most of the cancelled flights were said to be courtesy of QantasLink. The airline was linked to over 60 percent of cancellations between the cities in November.

Now it has taken steps to boost reliability, which has resulted in an improvement in the cancellation rate last month in comparison to previous months. The company was looking to see the decrease in cancellation rates continue for this month.

QantasLink chief operating officer Jenny Chamberlain said they are seeing improvements thanks to recent adjustments made to the company’s schedule and network. She added that the airline’s teams remain focused on ensuring the trend continues. "Cancellations on the Canberra route improved significantly in November in comparison to the previous month," she said.

Qantas has launched its Boxing Day sale, which features affordable flights to destinations around the country. These include a Melbourne-Gold Coast flight from $119 and Sydney to Hamilton Island for $139. Also on offer are New Zealand destinations like Christchurch ($229 from Sydney) and Auckland ($238 from Melbourne).