Update: After a two-day travel drama that started in Dubai on Sunday morning, Qantas Airways passengers finally landed in Sydney nearly 50 hours later, aboard domestic services from Perth.
Qantas confirmed the aircraft diverted to Perth en route from Dubai due to a fuel pump issue, resulting in hundreds of passengers stranded in the Australian city while engineers attempted to fix the problem.
An airline spokesperson told Emirates 24|7: “The majority of passengers who were due to fly out on the Qantas Airbus A380, which diverted to Perth on Monday morning, were accommodated on domestic services and departed Perth last night.”
The airline further confirmed the A380 aircraft had 407 passengers on board when it landed in Perth, adding half of them were put on earlier flights during the day, “with the remaining 225 passengers either departing Perth last night on domestic services to the east coast or staying overnight in accommodation provided by Qantas and will depart on domestic flights today.”
After being accommodated overnight in hotels, passengers were placed aboard QF2 the following day, only to learn a new technical issue was grounding the flight once again.
The Qantas spokesperson stated: “Engineers inspected the aircraft but another fault was found meaning the aircraft had to overnight in Perth while parts were flown from Sydney.”
They continued: “The airport and operations teams did their best to get the A380 aircraft departed in time to meet the Sydney curfew, however a mechanical issue unrelated to the previous issue was detected prior to take off and the aircraft returned to the gate.”
The airline has stated: “We will always prioritise safety over schedule; we realise the delays are very unfortunate and frustrating for our passengers and sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.”
A Twitter hashtag, #FreeTheQF2, was also doing its rounds on social media as passengers, family members and well-wishers rallied to get them home safely.
Meanwhile, a Qantas spokesperson added QF2 is expected to ferry empty back to Sydney today.
A Dubai-Sydney Qantas Airways flight that was scheduled to take off at 9.15am on Sunday, has yet to land in the Australian city nearly 30 hours later.
Passengers aboard flight QF2 have taken to social media from Perth, where the flight was eventually diverted following a technical issue that forced the A380’s pilots to land the plane at the closest airport.
Following two earlier delays and an overnight stay in Perth, at 2pm UAE time on Monday, a third technical issue has further stalled any immediate take off plans for the 400-odd passengers on board.
A message to the airline’s official Twitter account confirmed the latest glitch, with the reply: “QF2 is experiencing unforeseen mechanical issues. Our ground team will assist customers with options.”
Qantas issued this statement on its website at about 3pm UAE time today:
“A Qantas Airbus A380 which diverted to Perth this morning will remain at the airport overnight.
* Passengers who were due to fly out from Perth this evening on the aircraft will be accommodated on other services this evening.
* Of the 407 customers who arrived in Perth, almost half were put on earlier flights with the remaining 225 passengers to fly on tonight’s services from Perth to the east coast.
* The airport and operations teams did their best to get the A380 aircraft departed in time to meet the Sydney curfew, however a mechanical issue unrelated to the previous issue was detected prior to take off and the aircraft returned to the gate.
* While we will always prioritise safety over schedule, we realise the delays are very unfortunate and frustrating for our passengers and sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.
* The aircraft diverted to Perth en route from Dubai due to a fuel pump issue. Engineers inspected the aircraft but another fault was found meaning the aircraft has to overnight in Perth while parts are flown from Sydney.
* The aircraft is expected to ferry empty back to Sydney tomorrow.”
The carrier stated a replacement A380 cabin crew and pilots were to reach Perth to operate the service to Sydney.
However, the aircraft faced another glitch at Perth during takeoff.
Passengers, however, were not amused, with several taking to social media to complain of a ‘never ending wait’.
Several passengers tweeted the wait started in Dubai when the original takeoff time was pushed by ‘three to four hours’ due to the fuel pump issue.
After the flight took off, passengers stated the aircraft was then diverted to Perth over the technical issue.
Qantas stated online customers were then provided with hotel accommodation, with customers rebooked on the next available services from Perth.
At 2.15pm UAE time on Monday, the passengers were tweeting they had yet to take off for Sydney.
One disgruntled passenger tweeted upon landing at Perth instead of Sydney: “Not the best attempts to get back home with Qantas.”
Sarah Lloyd tweeted: “36 hours of travel so far, diverted to Perth and left to stand for hours in queues, technical issues and computer glitches galore.”
Saral Lloyd tweeted: “We’re now being taken off another plane and still no clue if how we’re getting ‘home’."