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. 

No comments:

Post a Comment