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Emergency response for UA flight to Sydney

October 5, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email


Police closed roads around Sydney Airport during a “full emergency response” yesterday as a United Airlines B787-900 Dreamliner flew in and landed at the airport low on fuel after the long flight from Los Angeles.

The road closure was brief – just a few minutes – and the plane’s “Mayday” call over the incident was activated automatically when fuel dropped below the minimum mandatory reserve level.

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said the plane had about 40 minutes of fuel left.

Flight UA839 had a scheduled flight time of 15 hours and five minutes but apparently ran into headwinds.

News outlets played a recording of communications between Sydney Airport air traffic control and the United plane’s flight deck. An air traffic controller asks the pilot: “Do you think you have enough fuel to taxi to the bay?” (The bay being the assigned gate for the plane to dock.)

“We’re good to taxi to the bay,” the pilot replies.

A United Airlines spokesman told the ABC: “United flight 839 from Los Angeles to Sydney landed safely in Sydney following a mechanical issue. The aircraft taxied to the gate and all customers disembarked normally.”

A United Airlines Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner

Passengers aboard were not aware of the incident. After refuelling, the plane took off bound for San Francisco as scheduled.

NSW Police said major roads around the airport were closed as a precaution just after 6.30am, reopening about eight minutes later. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is reviewing the incident.

Written by Peter Needham

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