Thursday 29 February 2024

Delta launches two solar eclipse flights

DELTA BOEING 777-232 N706DL (MSN 30440)

Delta Air Lines is launching two solar eclipse flights on the 8th of April 2024. 
The flights will give passengers onboard the best chance to view the solar eclipse at its peak. 
The 9th of April eclipse will be the last total eclipse over North America until 2044.

The first flight will be from Austin to Detroit. The flight will leave Austin at 12:15 pm and arrive at 4:20 pm in Detroit. It will be operated by the Airbus A220-300.

The second flight will be from Dallas to Detroit leaving Dallas at 12:30 pm and arriving at 4:30 pm in Detroit. It will be operated by the Airbus A321neo. 

However, other Delta flights may be able to catch the eclipse as well. 
This includes Delta flights DL5699, DL924, DL2869, DL1001, and DL1683.

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Delta to fly Brisbane-Los Angeles

DELTA 757-251 N545US (MSN 26492)  

This news is a few days old now but still very exciting for Brisbane. When United started flying into Brisbane from San Francisco 16 months ago (commenced 28th of October 2022), I said to my family and friends, Delta will be next. It took longer than expected, but it's happening.

Delta Air Lines will join rivals American Airlines and United Airlines in flying between Brisbane and the USA. 
As posted on my blog on the 3rd of February, American airlines will commence on the 27th of October 2024.

The skies between Brisbane and the USA are about to become a little more crowded, but that's good news for Queenslanders, as Delta Air Lines reveals plans to fly between Brisbane and Los Angeles. Although only a seasonal service running between December 2024-March 2025, the flights will increase competition and put downward pressure on airfares.

Delta will fly its Airbus A350 with private Delta One business class suites plus premium economy recliners on the 13h 30m route, with three flights each week from the 4th of December 2024 through to the 28th of March 2025.

The moves see's the SkyTeam member competing directly against Qantas for Brisbane-LAX travellers, and with a far superior proposition when you compare the quiet, modern A350 and its premium seating against the much older A330 which Qantas has pressed into service trans-pacific service due to a shortfall of long-range jets. Qantas has the monopoly on the LA - BNE route now that United pulled out a few weeks ago.

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Passengers trapped inside aircraft for five hours at Mumbai airport

Passengers aboard an Air Mauritius flight experienced a horrible ordeal at Mumbai airport on Saturday the 24th of February, as they were stranded on the aircraft for over five hours before the flight was eventually cancelled, said one of the flyers in an interaction with reporters.

The flight, Air Mauritius MK 749 bound for Mauritius from Mumbai, was scheduled to depart at 4:30 am. Passengers began boarding the plane from 3:45 am onwards. However, the aircraft remained grounded, leading to a prolonged wait for the nearly 200 passengers on board.

Among the passengers was a 78-year-old man who reportedly developed a breathing problem due to the lack of functioning air-conditioning inside the aircraft.

Despite efforts to address the issue, including calling in engineers with spare parts to fix an engine problem, the situation remained unresolved. Passengers alleged that they were not allowed to disembark during the prolonged delay.
The airline’s General Sales Agent (GSA) in India did not respond to phone calls seeking clarification on the matter.

After enduring hours of uncertainty, the captain announced around 10 am that the flight had been cancelled, leaving passengers frustrated and inconvenienced by the unexpected turn of events.

Monday 26 February 2024

Homeless man steals private plane for joyride ‘to try to prove a point’

A homeless man who stole a small private plane in California and took it for a joyride before crashing was trying to prove a point about security, officials have said.

Luis Gustavo Aires, 50, was arrested on the 8th of February at around 5pm after he allegedly stole a plane from Palo Alto Airport (PAO / KPAO) and flew it 25 miles. A short time later, the 50-year-old was forced to make an emergency landing on a beach in Half Moon Bay that left the aircraft upended with its nose touching the ground and its tail in the air.

Following his arrest, Aires told investigators he stole the $150,000 fixed-wing aircraft, which was not seriously damaged, to “show the government that airports lack proper security”, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office said.

The 50-year-old was allegedly able to access the aircraft without a key, it had been reported, after squeezing through a gap in the airport’s perimeter fence, which looked to have been cut open.

Aires stole the plane from an airport in Palo Alto before crash landing on a beach in Half Moon Bay a short time later. He was arraigned in court on Tuesday afternoon in San Mateo County. Aires reportedly told investigators he learned to fly in his native Brazil.

He also told a judge that his real name is “Sunrock”. Authorities said that the 50-year-old was found with identification for three other individuals when he was arrested.
Evidence suggests the thief first attempted to steal a Cirrus SR22T from the same ramp.

He was charged with identity theft and stealing a plane and has pleaded not guilty. At his initial court appearance, Aires told Judge Rebecca Woodson that he wanted to represent himself, but she denied his request.

Bail was set at $10,000. A preliminary hearing is set for later in February.

Aircraft Information:
Owner / Operator: Eyes Outside LLC
Aircraft: American Champion 7GCAA Citabria Adventure
Registration: N466AC
Serial Number: 446-2000
Engine: 1 X Lycoming 0-320 Series
First Flew: 9th January 2000
Age: 24.1 Months. 

This incident comes just weeks after a deadly plane crash into Half Moon Bay last month.
Four people were believed to have been on the plane at the time, which was seen flying erratically over the water east of the Moss Beach Distillery on the 15th of January.

The plane later crashed into the ocean. So far, three bodies have been recovered near the site of the crash. Federal investigators said they believe four people were aboard the single-engine Cozy Mark IV when it went down in the evening just south of San Francisco. No survivors were found and only one body had been recovered from the waters near Half Moon Bay and identified as of Thursday.

Sunday 25 February 2024

Saturday morning spotting at Brisbane Airport

Yesterday I decided to get up early and head out to Brisbane airport for some early morning spotting.
Most of our international flights arrive and depart early. Julia and Gavin from Julia Flights were there broadcasting live, so it was really nice seeing them again, and co-host the show for a short time. 


KOREAN AIR BOEING 787-9 HL8345 (MSN 34819)










QANTAS BOEING 737-838 VH-VXE (MSN 30899)







UNITED BOEING 787-9 N29984 (MSN 66143)

CHINA EASTERN AIRBUS A330-243 B-5920 (MSN 1375)




PHILIPPINE AIRBUS A330-343 RP-C8783 (MSN 1463)




Saturday 24 February 2024

Australian airlines still cancelling, delaying more flights than normal

Australia's major airlines have improved their performance, but travellers are still being subjected to far more cancellations and delays than normal. Data from the Australian government's Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) released today shows less than three-quarters of domestic flights (73.4 per cent) arrived on time in January, and 3.1 per cent were cancelled.

While both figures are marked improvements on the December numbers of 63.6 and 5 per cent respectively, they're still well short of the long-term averages of 81 and 2.2 per cent. 

Virgin was the worst of the major airlines when it came to cancellations last month, scrapping twice as many of its flights as Qantas. While last month's cancellation rate is the same as it was for the same period last year, the on-time arrival rate has fallen from 76.7 per cent in 2023.


Virgin was the worst of the major airlines again when it came to cancellations, scrapping 5.3 per cent of its flights, compared to Qantas at 2.5 per cent and Jetstar at 2.4.

Virgin also lagged behind its major rivals when it came to on-time arrivals, with just 67.9 of its flights landing when scheduled. 

For Qantas, the figure was 76.6 per cent, with Jetstar falling in between the two main carriers at 71.5 per cent.

However, regional airline Rex outperformed its much bigger counterparts, cancelling just 0.6 of its flights and landing 77.3 per cent of them on time. It was also the only carrier to have more than 80 per cent of its services depart on time.

REX BOEING 737-8SA VH-8KH (MSN 44217)

The nation's newest airline, budget carrier Bonza, saw the biggest month-on-month improvements.
It cancelled almost 20 per cent of its flights during December, a month when wild weather played havoc with the air travel industry but brought that number back to 3.3 per cent for January.


Remembering United Airlines flight 811

UNTITED B0EING 747-422 N194UA (MSN 26892)

United Airlines Flight 811 was a regularly scheduled airline flight from Los Angeles (LAX/KLAX) to Sydney (SYD/YSSY), with stop overs at Honolulu (HNL/PHNL) and Auckland (AKL/NZAA). 
On the 24th of February 1989, the Boeing 747-122 serving the flight experienced a cargo-door failure in flight shortly after leaving Honolulu. 
The resulting explosive decompression blew out several rows of seats, resulting in the deaths of nine passengers. The aircraft returned to Honolulu and landed with no further incident.

Flight 811, with 337 passengers and 18 crew members on board, took off from Honolulu (HNL/PHNL), Hawaii at 01:33 local time, bound for Sydney, Australia, with an intermediate stop at Auckland, New Zealand. The initial climb passed through an area of thunderstorms, so the captain elected to keep the seat belt sign on. As the aircraft was climbing, between 22,000 and 23,000 feet, an explosive decompression was experienced. An emergency was declared at approximately 02:20 HST. The captain initiated a 180-degree left turn to avoid a thunderstorm and proceeded toward Honolulu. The forward lower lobe cargo door had opened in flight, taking with it a large portion of the forward right side of the cabin fuselage. The starboard side Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7A engines (no.3 and 4) were damaged and had to be shut down. Parts of the leading and trailing edge flaps where also damaged resulting in the crew electing to use only 10-degrees trailing edge flaps for landing (a non-normal configuration). This resulted in the aircraft having to land at a higher speed than it would under normal conditions. The aircraft was cleared to land on Honolulu's runway 8L. At 02:34 HST, Honolulu tower was notified by the flight crew that the airplane was stopped, and an emergency evacuation had commenced on the runway. 

The aircraft had been flying for 17 minutes, as it was passing from 22,000 to 23,000 feet (6,700 to 7,000 m), when the flight crew heard a loud "thump", which shook it. About a second and a half later, the forward cargo door blew off. It swung out with such force that it passed its normal stop and slammed into the side of the fuselage, bursting it open. Pressure differentials and aerodynamic forces caused the cabin floor to cave in, and 10 seats (G and H of rows 8 through 12) were ejected from the cabin. All eight passengers seated in these locations were killed, as was the passenger in seat 9F. Seats 8G and 12G were unoccupied. A gaping hole was left in the aircraft, through which a flight attendant, Mae Sapolu in the business-class cabin, was almost blown out. Senior flight attendant Laura Brentlinger hung on to the steps leading to the upper deck and was dangling from them when the decompression occurred. Passengers and crew members saw her clinging to a seat leg and were able to pull her back inside the cabin, although she was severely injured.

The aircraft involved was a Boeing 747-122 (registration number N4713U MSN 19875).
It was delivered to United Airlines on the 3rd of November 1970. At the time of the accident, the Boeing had accumulated 58,814 total flight hours, 15,028 flight 'pressurization' cycles, and had not been involved in any previous accident.

Friday 23 February 2024

Australian Airlines could pay passengers for delayed, cancelled flights

Frustrated travellers could soon receive hundreds of dollars every time their flight is delayed or cancelled, with airlines forced to pay compensation under a new ‘pay on delay’ scheme.

Inspired by the EU261 and UK261 “passenger’s rights” legislation, the Airline Passenger Protections or ‘Pay on Delay’ bill will be presented to the Australian Senate on Monday the 26th of February by coalition senators Bridget McKenzie and Dean Smith.

The bill would provide “concrete protections for passengers to, from and within Australia and its territories in the event of flight delays, cancellations, or denials of boarding,” according to a joint statement by McKenzie and Smith.

This means that any domestic or international airline would be forced to pay passengers a set amount under a set of ‘trigger’ conditions in the event their flight is delayed or cancelled.

The Senators have not outlined those conditions or the resulting compensation payouts, but under the equivalent compensation schemes in the UK and Europe, passengers are entitled to between $400 and $1000 for delayed or cancelled flights, based primarily on the distance of their trip and length off the delay, but also allowing for how much notice an airline gives passengers.

Compensation is also required if a delay means a passenger misses a connecting flight on the same reservation. In certain circumstances passengers can also have their airfare fully refunded. However, allowances would likely be made for factors outside of an airline’s control, such as the impact of weather. The ‘Pay on Delay’ bill will also clarify that a passenger’s ticket “is on a particular flight, to a particular destination, at a particular time.”

“Australians deserve an aviation industry where planes take off and arrive on time, and their bags arrive with them,” affirms the statement by McKenzie and Smith.

“A recommendation of last year’s Aviation Senate inquiry was to review airline consumer protections, and this Bill will ensure passengers are being treated fairly by the airline industry in the future.”

At the moment, airlines including Qantas and Virgin Australia set their own compensation guidelines.

The airlines maintain that legally binding passenger compensation payments would only serve to increase airfares across the board, and “have done nothing to reduce delays and cancellations, or to deliver better outcomes for consumers” in countries where they are in place.

In its December 2023 response to an aviation green paper, Qantas warned “the introduction of mandatory compensation would be a backwards step that will do nothing to reduce delays and cancellations, will increase confusion and complaints and materially increase costs, ultimately leading to higher fares and potentially compromising the viability of marginal routes.”

However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and consumer advocacy body Choice both backed calls for a compensation scheme.

To become law, the Coalition-backed Pay on Delay bill would require the support of crossbench senators – who are likely to be in favour of the proposal – before it could move to the House of Representatives, where Labor would need to approve the bill in its final form.

Story sourced from here
Qantas, Virgin could pay passengers for delayed, cancelled flights - Executive Traveller

Thursday 22 February 2024

Parts of wing fall of plane at 31,000 feet

UNITED BOEING 787-10 N12010 (MSN 40926)

United Airlines flight 354 from San Francisco (SFO/KSFO) to Boston (BOS/KBOS) was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Denver (DEN/KDEN) on Monday due to damage observed on the aircraft’s wing.

While the aircraft was cruising at 31,000 feet, passengers reported seeing damage after pieces from the inner leading-edge slat of the right-hand wing had broken off. (Slats are adjustable panels situated on the wing’s leading edge, crucial for controlling the aircraft’s lift during takeoff and landing phases.)
It’s not clear what caused parts of the slat to be torn away.

Crew reported a potential flap issue and landed safely on runway 16R in Denver. A replacement Boeing 757-200 was used to complete the journey to Boston, where passengers arrived about three and a half hours later than scheduled.

According to passengers on board, there was a violent vibration, then a pilot came out to inspect the cabin. After he returned to the cockpit an announcement was made of minor damage to the aircraft’s right wing, necessitating the diversion.

Adding to the aircraft’s troubled week, it had just diverted four days prior. On the 15th of February while operating as flight UA 1413 from Boston to San Francisco, the aircraft landed in Boise where it was grounded for two days before being ferried back to San Francisco on Saturday.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: United Airlines
Code: UA/UAL
Aircraft: Boeing 757-224
Registration: N57111
Serial Number: 27301
Engine: 2 x RR RB211-535E4B
First Flew: 5th December 1994
Age: 29.2 Years. 

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Passenger jet hits runway equipment on takeoff

An Air Serbia E195 suffered extensive damage after remaining on the ground for a long distance past the end of the runway, before lifting off. This accident happened on Sunday the 18th of February. It involved flight JU-324, departing from Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG/LYBE) in Serbia. This is a regular flight, to Dusseldorf International Airport (DUS/EDDL) in Germany. Air Serbia changes between the Airbus A320 and the Embraer E190 or E195, to perform this service.

The visibility and other weather conditions don’t appear to have been a factor in this accident. The flight departed at 16:39 UTC, using runway 30L: The E195 flight crew of this Air Serbia flight intended to make an intersection departure on runway 30L. The tower controller reportedly cleared the crew to enter the runway using taxiway D6. However, the flight crew entered the runway at D5 instead.

Seeing this, the tower controller informed the crew and cleared them to backtrack to their intended departure point, abeam D6. Now fully aware of where they were, the crew announced that they could depart from their current position. The tower controller cleared the Air Serbia flight for takeoff and the E195 started rolling down the runway. At D5, the flight crew had approximately 1,273 meters (4,177 feet) of runway remaining. ADS-B data shows that the aircraft was still on the ground at least 500 meters (1,640 feet) past the runway.

This means that the Air Serbia flight rolled through approach lighting and other equipment, damaging the fuselage and wings of the E195. CCTV video at the airport shows that the aircraft suffered a tail strike just as it left the runway surface. After finally lifting off, the aircraft initially gained little altitude. The E195 crew stopped their climb at 4,000 feet. But despite telling ATC that they would return to Belgrade immediately, the flight would spend around 55 minutes in the air.

After working through their checklists and burning some fuel, the E195 pilots landed the Air Serbia flight safely back on runway 30L. The runway was still usable after the accident, however the damage to equipment precluded the possibility of performing CATIII landings.

The aircraft has remained on the ground ever since and seems to need substantial repairs before it can return to service. The E195 belongs to Marathon Airlines, who leased it to Air Serbia last October.

On the day of this accident, 106 passengers and crew were on board the aircraft. 

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Air Serbia
Code: JU/ASL
Aircraft: Embraer E195LR
Registration: OY-GDC
Serial Number: 19000204
Engine: 2 x GE CF34-10E7
First Flew: 10/01/2008
Age: 16.1 Months. 

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Top 10 most dangerous airports ever built

10. Gustaf III Airport – San Bartolomé (SBH/TFFJ)

Year of construction: 1984
Risk factors: Short runway, near the beach.

This airport’s strange feature is that it only provides its services from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. In addition, it can only be used by small airplanes of no more than 20 passengers, since its location would considerably complicate the take-off and landing of larger aircrafts.

The track, only 2,133 feet long, is located between a hill and a beach. This means that pilots must be very careful when they maneuver. And tourists on the beach should also be careful; there are even signs that warn them not to sunbathe near the base of the track.

9. Gibraltar Airport – United Kingdom (GIB/LXGB)

Year of construction: 1939
Risk factors: Track intersects the road.

Gibraltar Airport is considered the most dangerous in Europe after Madeira. The reason? It is the only one in the world whose runway meets the road, and at the same level! This is because the airport made maximum use of its minimal space.

So, when a plane is close, highway traffic stops to give way to the aircraft. This means that any traffic accident could affect the takeoff or landing of the planes. At this airport, what was saved in space is lost in security.

8. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport – Saba Island (SAB/TNCS)

Year of construction: 1963
Risk factors: Shortest runway in the 

This airport is known as the most dangerous in existence, since it has the shortest runway in the world. It’s just 1,300 feet! In addition to the fact that its length makes takeoff and landing very difficult, the airport is located on the edge of a cliff.

This means that any mistake in the calculations could easily lead an aircraft into the sea or onto the rocks below the cliff. For this reason, jets cannot take off or land at this airport. Propeller planes, on the other hand, can make use of the facilities without major problems.

7. Congonhas Airport – São Paulo, Brazil (CGH/SBSP)

Year of construction: 1936
Risk factors: Closeness of the 

The main problem with the Congonhas airport is that being as it’s located in a residential area in the center of São Paulo, it is surrounded by buildings. This causes pilots to have to be particularly careful when maneuvering during takeoff and landing.

As if that were not enough, its track is considered one of the slipperiest in existence, due to the inefficient drainage systems in the area. Unfortunately, this airport has seen several accidents. One of them occurred in 2007, and it caused the authorities to decide to expan

6. Cristiano Ronaldo Airport – Madeira, Portugal (FNC/LPMA)

Year of construction: 1973
Risk factors: Track built on the 

Some describe Cristiano Ronaldo Airport as an engineering marvel. For others, it is a danger. The island of Madeira is so small that the runway of his airport had to be expanded over the sea. For this expansion, 180 pillars were built that hold the track over the water.

The strong winds on the island, as well as the narrow airstrip, make the maneuvers that the pilots carry out very complex. In fact, all those in charge of taking off or landing a plane on the island of Madeira must receive special training.

5. Kai Tak Airport – Hong Kong (

Year of construction: 1925
Risk factors: Surrounded by 

Landing at Kai Tak Airport was challenging even for skilled pilots. The airport was surrounded by tall buildings, and airplanes passed so close to the buildings that passengers felt they could peek into the offices. To make matters worse, the track was built on the sea, and it was far too narrow and short.

It is not difficult to imagine why passengers referred to this airport as “Heart Attack Airport.” Kai Tak was the site of no less than fifteen accidents before it was shut down in 1998 because of how dangerous it was.

4. Male Airport – Maldives (MLE/VRMM)

Year of construction: 1960
Risk factors: Runway size.

The Maldives Islands airport is located on the island of Hulhule. Its main problem is the size of its runway, which is so small that it occupies the entire length of the island. Any miscalculation can easily lead the plane to the sea.

Another unusual feature of this busy airport is that, once its planes manage to land, passengers usually have to take speedboats to get to where they are going in the Maldives. Otherwise, they’ll be stuck waiting for hours.

3. Princess Juliana Airport – Saint Martin (SXM/TNCM)

Year of construction: 1942
Risk factors: Closeness of 

This busy airport has a strange feature, where its planes fly barely 82 feet above the beach. In fact, the aircraft passes so close to the ground that the local government has warned tourists to stay at a safe distance during take-off and landing.

This is due to the possibility of a too-close sightseer being thrown into the sea or sucked into a turbine. During its years of operation, this airport has been the site of four accidents that have had devastating consequences.

2. Barra Airport – Scotland (BRR/EGPR)

Year of construction: 1936
Risk factors: Track on the 

This airport, which is located north of the island of Barra, is the only one in the world where takeoffs and landings take place on the beach. This, first of all, means that all air operations are easily affected by the tide.

The beach that serves as the airstrip is open to the public, so people should check if the airport is in operation before visiting. The beach at this airport is also often visited by seals, and the airport staff frequently have to escort the seals back to the sea to avoid accidents.

1. Courchevel Airport – France (CVF/LFLJ)

Year of construction: 1962
Risk factors: Location of 

This airport, located in the middle of the French Alps, is used to access the Courchevel ski resort. It is located 6,588 feet above sea level, and its runway measures just 1,761 feet. This short runway prevents pilots from last-minute, necessary maneuvering.

Furthermore, Courchevel airport has no lighting, which makes landing considerably difficult on foggy, rainy, or snowy days. To make matters worse, it is built between the snowy mountains, which causes a problem for planes trying to approach and descend.

Monday 19 February 2024

Indian airlines will have to follow this new rule for your luggage

Aviation security regulator Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has asked all seven Indian airlines to deliver baggage to the passengers at airports within 30 minutes of landing. The rule will be implemented from the 26th of February and airlines- Air India, Indigo, Akasa, SpiceJet, Vistara, AIX Connect and Air India Express - have been told very sternly to follow the directive. This comes as BCAS monitored the time of arrival of baggage at six major airports- Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru- in January. The directions were given by Civil Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.

“Since the beginning of the review exercise, the performance of all airlines has been monitored on a weekly basis and has improved, but is not as per the mandates. The mandates require the first baggage to arrive at the baggage belt within 10 minutes of shutting off the aircraft engine and the last bag within 30 minutes of the same,” the civil aviation ministry said in a statement. The current times have blown right out stating the first bag can take around 20 minutes and the last bag can take up to 45 minutes with some airlines.

At present, monitoring continues at six major airports, it said.

“However, BCAS has directed the airlines to ensure that the mandated levels are achieved in all airports where they fly,” the ministry informed.

These requirements are part of the operation, management and delivery agreement (OMDA). 
The Airports Authority of India signed the same with major airports such as Delhi and Mumbai at the time of privatisation around 20 years ago.

“The move to ensure baggage delivery on time will not only clear the passengers faster, making space for the others arriving into the hall, but will also help in security of the airport,” a government official said, seeking anonymity. “Since the beginning of the review exercise, performance of all airlines are being monitored on a weekly basis and have improved, but are not as per the mandates.”

Sunday 18 February 2024

A Qantas A330’s wild route from Perth to Melbourne


A Qantas Airbus A330 had a very circuitous route from Melbourne to Perth which has an unusual explanation. This situation happened on Thursday, the 15th of February 2024, and involves Qantas flight QF780 from Perth (PER/YPPH) to Melbourne (MEL/YMML). This flight was operated by a 21-year-old Airbus A330-200 with the registration code VH-EBB. This 1,681-mile route is operated by Qantas multiple times per day.

So, what made this flight unusual? 
Well, this flight took 4 hr 58 min and flew a total distance of 2,775 miles. 

As you can see, the jet flew northeast all the way to Queensland, and then started flying almost directly south down through New South Wales, prior to landing in Melbourne. The plane ended up arriving in Melbourne over two hours behind schedule.

Just to compare that to a regular flight, the same exact flight the day before spent 3 hr 7 min in the air and flew a distance of just 1,734 miles.

Suffice it to say that it’s incredibly strange to operate a route that’s about two hours and 1,000 miles longer than it usually is. What makes this even more surprising is that Virgin Australia operated a flight around the same time with a Boeing 737, and that took just over three hours, and had a direct routing. So, what’s the explanation?

When doing route planning, airlines have to plan for potential diversion points. This includes diversion points in the event of an emergency, and also includes diversion points in the event that arrivals are no longer possible at the intended destination airport. According to the theories I’ve seen, Adelaide (ADL/YPAD) would be a potential diversion point for this route. However, when this flight was operating, the airport runway was closed for construction during late night hours.

So, the Qantas A330 needed to operate a different route so that it had an acceptable diversion point. The airline reportedly operated further north than normal, so that Alice Springs (ASP/YBAS) would be a diversion point within range. The reason the Virgin Australia 737 didn’t have to take this route is because there are more diversion points for 737s rather than A330s, since the runways don’t need to be as long.

Apparently, this comes down to lack of suitable diversion points, due to Adelaide’s runway being resurfaced at the time of this flight, so the plane needed to instead stay within some distance of Alice Springs. It’s all very strange…

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Qantas
Code: QF/QFA
Aircraft: Airbus A330-202
Registration: VH-EBB
Serial Number: 0522
Engine: 2 x GE CF6-80E1A4
First Flew: 26/11/2002.
Age: 21.3 Yrs.