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Airport to probe why Jetstar flight baked on tarmac

May 17, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Phuket International Airport is investigating how a Jetstar flight was left sitting on the tarmac last Friday in sweltering conditions without air-conditioning, reportedly causing five passengers to faint from heat prostration.

The aircraft, bound for Melbourne, was apparently struck by a technical issue with the ground power unit that delayed take-off from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.

Passenger Claire McAlinden‎ expressed her outrage on Facebook.

“Jetstar’s service from Phuket to Melbourne overnight is horrific and something to be brought to the attention of others,” she wrote.

“At the beginning there was a 30 minute delay. Once all passengers were on the aircraft the seatbelt sign went on and we were all waiting for take off.”

After the plane began to move the power went out, McAlinden wrote, and passengers were told after 10 minutes that “ground power” had become an issue and it would take 10 minutes to solve. The 10 minutes expanded to 30 minutes and then more.

“A plane with no power, no air conditioning and a group of Aussies trying their best to understand why it was taking so long,” she wrote.

“We ended up staying on the tarmac for 2 hours. A man fainted due to the heat (no air conditioning… in Phuket), babies were stripped down to nappies and still no answers from the captain.

“All passengers were told to disembark the aircraft at 12:40am after 2 hours on the machine. We sat and waited, and waited, and waited. Not one Jetstar representative nor member of Phuket airport staff were willing to tell anyone what was happening.”

McAlinden said she logged onto the airport’s free Wi-Fi “and within moments I had an email from Jetstar saying our plane would be delayed…”

“Problem after problem after problem. Families with children / little people didn’t get to a hotel until 3:30am. Other passengers waited until 5am just to get a bed to lay in until 11am when we will be disembarking the hotels to go back through all the security checkpoints again in less than 24 hours of doing it last.

“I completely understand the fact that the plane wouldn’t be safe to take off with electrical faults. But this is no excuse for sitting on the tarmac for 2 hours, 5 people in total were removed from the aircraft due to fainting.”

A Jetstar spokesman later apologised and thanked customers for their patience, blaming the delay on a technical issue with the ground power unit and a customer suffering from a medical condition needing to leave the flight.

Passengers were fed and given accommodation during the delay.

Written by Peter Needham

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