Gas Week

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Qantas modifies fuel policy for flights to Perth airport after jet from Singapore aborts two landings and issues a mayday

Posted by gasweek on 2 October, 2007

Qantas has modified its fuel policy for flights to Perth airport after a jet from Singapore aborted two landings and issued a mayday before landing in fog, because it was unable to get to a suitable alternative airport, reported The Australian (24/08/07, p. 42).

Emergency landing due to fog and no alternative airport: The crew ended up conducting an automatic landing of the Airbus A330-300 with about half the 800m visibility that was normally considered the minimum for landings at Perth. An Australian Transport Safety Bureau report released yesterday said the Qantas policy meant the aircraft left Singapore on 16 September 2006 without enough fuel to allow it to reach the alternative airport at Learmonth, 1110km north of Perth, in the event of a last-minute problem. It said the combination of the fog and the absence of a suitable alternative airport meant the flight had to make an emergency landing.

More fuel for surety: Qantas has since changed its fuel policy to take on more fuel on Perth flights to allow it to get to an alternative airport if there is any indication of fog. Qantas chief pilot Chris Manning said the airline had put an additional two-hour buffer on bad weather forecasts for flights into Perth. Captain Manning also rejected any suggestion that the company pressured pilots not to take on extra fuel.

Forecasting fog is difficult: “Forecasting fog’s relatively difficult and comments we put pressure on pilots not to take extra fuel is absolutely wrong, absolutely false,” he said. “They took extra fuel and we don’t take a note of that ever. That’s the pilot in command’s responsibility.”

The Australian, 24/8/2007, p. 42

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