Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Qantas A380 passengers tarmac ordeal

The 2010 annus horribilis continues for Qantas, with passengers stuck on the tarmac in another Airbus 380 for hours on end, this time in Los Angeles.

It has emerged that 398 passengers were stuck for three-and-a-half hours on the tarmac on board the flagship superjumbo in Los Angeles on Sunday, US time, while engineers tried to rectify technical faults.

Eventually passengers on QF12 were off-loaded after the crew had exceeded their allowable on-duty hours. The Sydney-bound flight was rescheduled for the next day and arrived this morning.

A Qantas spokesman said the plane had a brake indication fault that occurred twice, the second time after an attempted repair.

It is the second time this week Qantas passengers have been stuck on board an A380 for hours.

The incident mirrors Monday's hold-up at Melbourne Airport, where almost 450 passengers were stuck on board an A380 for more than five hours while engineers tried to fix a technical fault.

The repairs dragged on and eventually passengers were let off the plane after the flight was postponed to the next day.

Qantas blamed the strict new security screening regime required for US flights to America for the decision to keep passengers on board for so long.

Bizarrely, the two incidents were happening almost simultaneously, with the delay hitting the LA flight as passengers prepared to disembark the faulty A380 in Melbourne.

Since the New Year, Qantas has suffered outages of its check-in system, baggage system and aircraft malfunctions that have caused lengthy delays to the travel plans thousands of passengers in Australia and internationally.

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