Two women and two children stand in red earth front of a pier, watching a plane soaring overhead.

Qantas, Virgin apologise as Broome records highest airport delay percentage in Australia

Flights leaving Broome have had the highest percentage of delays in the country amid the worst national figures recorded since delay-related data began being collected.

The monthly Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) report measures flight delays and cancellations along routes in Australia with 8,000 passengers or more per month.

The latest edition collating statistics from June found a little more than 30 per cent of flights headed from Broome to Perth left on time — the highest percentage of delays for any route in the country.

The figure was less than half the national average of 62 per cent for the month, which according to the report was the worst figure recorded “since recording commenced in November 2003”.

Virgin Australia mainline saw the worst delays for the period — none of the carrier’s 14 flights from Broome to Perth left within 15 minutes of their expected departure time.

Virgin Australia Regional also suffered delays, seeing only 38 per cent of its 50 flights scheduled to depart to Perth leaving when expected.

But passengers aboard Qantas and QantasLink flights also faced delays, with only 22.2 and 31.5 per cent of each carrier’s flights leaving Broome for Perth on time.

In total there were 11 cancellations of flights between the two cities — 10 for QantasLink and one for Virgin Australia Regional.

Almost 70 per cent of flights leaving Perth from Broome were delayed, according to the latest figures.(ABC Kimberley: Andrew Seabourne)

Tourists and locals affected

The cancellations and delays have left many travelers with nowhere to go during the busy dry season, which often sees the town’s hotels booked out months in advance.

In a bid to help stranded local passengers have been forced to step in and house them until they can board another flight, with a group of volunteers coordinating their efforts.

A smiling man with short gray hair, wearing a dark shirt.
Broome Shire President Harold Tracey says his staff have been affected by the delays.(ABC Kimberly)

But while the problems at the airport have affected tourists, Broome Shire President Harold Tracey said they were affecting residents too.

“Some of my … elderly staff members have had appointments to go down to Perth and have check ups and MRIs and so forth,” he said.

“The day before the appointment flight … [the flights are] getting canceled and then having to cancel the appointments.

“We all know how long the waits are when trying to get an appointment again.”

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