Thursday, November 19, 2009

QANTAS again (1)

Who gives a damn about passengers? They were made to wait 90 mins. on the plane for nothing and then just dumped over an hour's drive away from their destination. No help. No explanation and no apology

Disgruntled passengers say Qantas deserted them at the Gold Coast Airport last night after their flight into Brisbane was diverted due to bad weather. The QF 665 flight was also struck by lightning during its descent into Coolangatta.

Passenger Denis Gailey said the plane landed about 7.50pm but passengers weren't allowed to disembark until 9.35pm.

A Qantas spokesman said the airline didn't have engineering support at the airport, as it was no longer a Qantas port, and had to wait for an engineer from Brisbane to arrive. "That explains why people had to stay on board for that long. "They stayed on board in the expectation we'd get them up again. But unfortunately the plane was declared unserviceable by the engineer," he said.

But Mr Gailey said there was no communication. "When we got off, we were told to follow the staff in yellow safety vests and that buses were on their way. But we never saw anyone in yellow safety vests. "Passengers found their bags themselves. There was no co-ordination," he said. Some passengers organised hire cars while others waited for buses which arrived after 11pm. "We had no food, no direction and no-one to ask.

Qantas spokesman admitted passengers might not have had access to shops or food between the meal served onboard at 6pm and arriving in Brisbane after midnight. "The opportunity to provide refreshments just didn't eventuate unfortunately. "I think our focus would be on getting our passengers to Brisbane as quick as possible," he said. [It was obviously a "focus" that didn't succeed]

Mr Gailey said Qantas crew avoided the group of passengers after disembarking and refused to make eye contact. "The cabin manager had a moral obligation to take control of (the situation) and stay with us." There was no apology or offer of compensation, he said. "It was a complete sham," Mr Gailey said.

The Qantas spokesman said "cabin crew essentially did their job for the day when the flight landed". "Ultimately the crews have responsibilities as far as the flight was concerned and they hand it over to ground crew once they're on the ground. He said he would talk to the customer care department about compensation, but said the event was unavoidable due to the weather conditions. "We certainly regret any inconvenience the incident might have caused our customers but our focus was on getting our customers to their destination as quickly as possible."


QANTAS again (2)

Cost-cutting has undoubtedly hit maintenance, as well as customer service

A QANTAS passenger plane taking off from Hong Kong was brought to a screeching halt after a pilot heard "a loud bang" from the engine. QF30, a 747 Jumbo with 313 passengers onboard, was heading to Melbourne from Hong Kong International Airport at 9.55am local time yesterday (6:55am AEDT yesterday) when it came to an abrupt halt.

Clasina Cue, a Melbourne grandmother and former airport worker, was aboard along with her friend, Lisa Taliana, also from Melbourne with both returning from a Hong Kong holiday. Both say the plane was nearing taking off speed. “The plane's nose was a bit up in the air,” Ms Cue said. “There was a big bang and a shudder. The pilot slammed the brakes and stopped the plane. It had been close to the point of no return.”

Both Ms Cue and Ms Taliana said they could smell smoke in the cabin. Ms Cue believed it was from the “screeching” tyres. Ms Cue and Ms Taliana both praised the pilot. “It was the pilot’s quick thinking. We could have gone up in the air. It could have been a lot worse,” said Ms Cue. “I’m just thankful we’re not dead,” said Ms Taliana. “The pilot did an awesome job. Not taking off was the best thing he could have possibly done.”...

The Qantas spokesperson said there had been no cockpit indications of engine failure but it was later found that the engine needed new compressor blades. The spokesperson could not say why there was no cockpit indicator of a problem before the bang alerted the pilot.

Qantas planes have been bedevilled with numerous incidents over the past couple of years. There have been union claims that safety is being compromised with maintenance work being outsourced to overseas terminals. The Qantas spokesperson however said the plane in question had been maintained in Sydney.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

QANTAS near-disaster again

Qantas pilots forgot to lower wheels. Qantas is going to run out of luck soon

QANTAS has stood down two pilots after a Boeing 767 landing in Sydney came within 700ft of the ground before the flight crew realised they had not lowered the plane's undercarriage. The airline and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau have launched investigations into the October 26 incident. The pilots are due to be interviewed by authorities on Friday.

The crew on the Melbourne-Sydney CityFlyer service apparently recognised the problem and had started go-around procedures when they received a "gear too low" aural warning from the aircraft's enhanced ground proximity warning system.

It is understood investigators are looking at possible human error and a communication breakdown between the first officer and captain about who was lowering the landing gear.

According to a former Boeing 767 pilot, a crew on an instrument approach would normally start lowering the undercarriage when the plane was between 2000ft and 1500ft in order to ensure that it met requirements that the aircraft was stable and configured to land at 1000ft. In visual conditions, the aircraft needed to be stable by 500ft, but lowering the gear at 700ft or even at 1000ft was still far too late, the pilot said. Landing gear problems or gear-up situations were involved in 15 per cent of airline hull-loss accidents last year, according to an analysis by the International Air Transport Association.

But Qantas said yesterday that a crew failing to lower the undercarriage was extremely rare and it was taking the incident seriously. "The flight crew knew all required procedures but there was a brief communications breakdown," a spokeswoman said. "They responded quickly to the situation and instigated a go-around. The cockpit alert coincided with their actions. There was no flight safety issue. "The incident was reported to the ATSB and the pilots were stood down. We are supporting the ATSB's investigation and our own investigations will determine what further action might be warranted."