Why divert Sydney to Newcastle?

10 replies

tommygun

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

Member since 16 Oct 2017

Total posts 282

QF28 (B789) Sat 18 Feb diverted SYD to NTL after 14 hour flight from Santiago due to weather at Sydney. Why Newcastle, no immigration and not set up for Dreamliner? Pax spent 6 hours aboard on the tarmac before allowed into the terminal. Qantas of course thanked pax for "their patience and understanding". Why not BNE or MEL? Insufficient fuel? If so why not divert well before overhead SYD? Anyone got any ideas?

dm12

Member since 08 Feb 2018

Total posts 200

Because Qantas

hakkinen5

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 20 Aug 2014

Total posts 195

Low on fuel I read on another forum.

tommygun

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

Member since 16 Oct 2017

Total posts 282

From the comments on social media it looks like this Dreamliner turned into a nightmare.

RedWood

Member since 04 Sep 2019

Total posts 32

Because qantas


Plz singapore airlines be our national airline

mspcooper

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 09 May 2013

Total posts 442

Originally Posted by hakkinen5

Low on fuel I read on another forum.

Hard to believe this. There is minimum holding fuel requirements and alternate fuel requirements. If you are already at altitude, flying time to OOL or BNE or MEL would have been provided as alternate. There must be more to this story, on why QF Flight ops chose NTL

kimshep

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 Oct 2014

Total posts 412

Err .. we're talking about a nonstop flight from Chile with - at best - an approximate flight time of 13.75-14 hours, from take-off. Any gate or tarmac delay in Santiago (SCL) would add to this. so it is common sense that there may have been enough time to divert to NTL, but not enough to divert to MEL or BNE, where pilots and / or crew may have exceeded their permissible duty hours. Then, there is the passenger load as well as the fuel load situation, when flying westward cross the South Pacific.

Unless of course, perhaps you think that QF has some mandatory, secretive subversive plan to expose all their passengers to the wonders of glorious downtown Newcastle?

Major storm, multiple flights diverted away from Sydney (QR went to CBR, some other carriers to MEL and some to BNE). In order to swap crew out and provide a fresh one, BNE is not a QF true B787 jet base, so would not have appropriate crew on call, but even if they did, they would have still needed to get crew and passengers from either BNE / MEL into a closed SYD airport.

NTL has the advantage that a replacement crew could be put in a bus and driven up to Newcastle in less than 2 hours - along the highway. Whilst annoying to the QF28 passengers, the situation / storm was unavoidable - and a reasonably sensible decision was made by QF. Compare that to some of the other international flights that had delays until the following morning where they diverted to BNE / MEL and some passengers that were stuck at those airports.

vhojm

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 25 Oct 2019

Total posts 72

All the keyboard warriors here are unbelievable. Not one of you work at the Qantas ops centre so stop whinging about a decision made 100% with safety of people in mind.

We have no idea why they went to Newcastle, but when it comes to safety I trust what Qantas does even if it may not make sense to the onlooker.

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 197

As a keyboard warrior not working in a QF ops centre I cannot comment on the reasons except I can point out the following:

1. Whatever maximum duty hours already accrued, the 6 hours on the tarmac stuck on the plane effectively added the same extra hours to the pilots and the FA unless they can just “switch off” from their work duties and not ensure pax safety and comfort.

2. Generally air conditioning (not fans) on many airplanes needs engine to be running (not sure to on 787) so whatever fuel is left on the plane would be still being burned up unless refuel can occur (meaning the air conditioning and other things are shut off, although fans and light remains on) in that 6 hours

3. 20 hours on a confined space is not for everyone, and while it is safer that being in the air with a tired crew and low fuel, it doesn't make sense choosing Newcastle over Canberra particularly with limited border control space and experience in Newcastle, it's certainly a decision worth reviewing

Last editedby XWu at Feb 22, 2023, 07:39 AM.

kimshep

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 Oct 2014

Total posts 412

@XWu,

I can agree with your (Point 3) comment on 'limited border control space' (it is, after all, on-call).

However, I cannot accept your assertion of 'limited experience in Newcastle'. Yes, it is an outlier regional destination BUT from the point of a serious incident, you do realize that NTL is also the shared RAAF home base of Williamtown. Given QF's existing and long-term contracts and relationship with the RAAF, I would be more than pleased to know that professional support exists at the airport, should an incident occur. The rest of it (including airport amenities, whether there is a lounge etc), is in truth, simply fluff.

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 197

@ kimshep

being a keyboard warrior and someone who lived in Newcastle for just 16 years, I can only respectfully point out if there is any hint of border control experience (as I wrote, not major incident experience), the 6 hour detention in the airplane on the tarmac (ie not allowed to disembark) does not, in my opinion, reflect well on the NTL's current border control credentials, (despite the now defunct token international flights over the ditch to NZ), whatever border control services RAAF Williamtown had for their international military visitors wasn't extended to civilians that night.

And being fed McDonald's probably is surely not in any major incident playbook by any means, try organising 236++ (plus Qantas crew) happy meal looking around a few 24 hr Macca family restaurant drive throughs in Newcastle on a Saturday night.

Last editedby XWu at Feb 23, 2023, 07:50 PM.

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