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Fuel, sickness and weather disrupt flights over the weekend

January 21, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Delays and diversions bugged air travellers throughout the weekend, with warnings that disruption could continue.

Hot weather, strong winds and air traffic control workers calling in sick caused chaos in Sydney on Saturday. Fewer air traffic controllers working on the late shift meant fewer aircraft were cleared for takeoff and landing. Airlines cancelled a total of 39 flights.

On Saturday, a Jetstar flight from Tasmania to Sydney was diverted to Canberra and passengers forced to continue their journey by bus.

Yesterday (Sunday), Melbourne Airport warned that “our baggage system in T3 is processing luggage at a slower rate due to construction works. If you are travelling on a Virgin Australia domestic service please allow extra travel time today. For flight information please speak to your airline.”

Passengers aboard a Frliday evening Jetstar flight from Hobart to Sydney found themselves stuck at Canberra Airport in the early hours of Saturday morning after their flight was diverted there.

ABC News reported that the 177 people aboard Jetstar’s Airbus A320 flight JQ724 from Hobart were due to arrive in Sydney 9.55pm, but instead landed in Canberra around 10.30pm, where they were kept on the plane until midnight.

At 11.00am the following day, passengers boarded a bus for the three-hour bus journey to said.

A man who said he was on the aircraft said passengers were told “we don’t have enough fuel” to wait for the backlog of planes to land in Sydney.

“The pilot said due to bad weather there’s a lot of air traffic in Sydney and planes are waiting and basically flying around the airport and we don’t have enough fuel,” the man told ABC News.

In a statement, Jetstar told the ABC:

Following Sydney air traffic control’s instructions due to strong winds, a flight from Hobart to Sydney yesterday diverted to Canberra.  

Our captain diverted to Canberra where weather conditions were better and landed the plane normally.

All customers were provided hotel accommodation in Canberra and buses were arranged to transport everyone to Sydney the next morning. 

Safety is our highest priority and we apologise to customers for this disruption. 

Written by Peter Needham

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