Australia

Hundreds of passengers still waiting while Perth Airport reschedules flights


Hundreds of passengers around the country are still waiting to get to their destinations tonight after being left stranded by flight chaos at Perth Airport today.

A major refuelling issue at the WA site caused the cancellation of 68 international and domestic flights this morning, shutting down all four terminals for the first time in history and grounding thousands of passengers.

While the issue has since been resolved, the airport is now working with airlines to clear the backlog of flights that left travellers stranded for over 12 hours.

Hundreds of passengers remain stranded at Perth Airport.
Hundreds of passengers remain stranded at Perth Airport. (Nine)

“Its not proper that an airline leaves you stranded and doesn’t inform you – I left the house and now I don’t know if I am going to sleep in this airport,” one passenger told 9News.

“So that’s not fine that’s not nice, I think.”

One couple told 9News they wasn’t told about the changes to their scheduled departure for hours.

“We didnt even get told our flight was delayed until three hours after we were supposed to leave,” they said.

“So, it’s just been very frustrating.”

Perth Airport flights grounded after major refueling issue
The departures board at Perth Airport his morning. (Supplied)
While the issue has since been resolved, the airport is now working with airlines to clear the backlog of flights that left travellers stranded for over 12 hours.
While the issue has since been resolved, the airport is now working with airlines to clear the backlog of flights that left travellers stranded for over 12 hours. (9News)

The delays were caused by an outage due to “low pressure” in the fuel systems, and caused a domino effect throughout Australia.

Some passengers were left waiting over six hours across the country in Sydney, as the delays had a knock-on effect.

“It’s frustrating because everyone’s passing the buck but let’s forget about where the blame lies, there’s no blame, and take care of your customers and then sort if out later,” Eric Hees from Vancouver told 9News.

Experts were called in and the fuel system was eventually repaired and tested after 12 hours of chaos.

“The issue wasn’t their ability to land or take off from Perth Airport, it was their ability to take on fuel,” Perth Airport CEO, Jason Waters, said.

Perth Airport flights grounded after major refueling issue
The delays were caused by an outage due to “low pressure” in the fuel systems, and caused a domino effect throughout Australia. (Supplied)

“We appear to have had air sucked into the distribution system. Even once we identified the fix, there was a period of time for us to be able to bleed that out,” he said.

The issue meant that aircraft arriving at the airport were unable to be refuelled or depart from the West Australian city, resulting in almost 70 regional, domestic and international flights being affected.

A Qantas Dreamliner from London to Perth was forced to touch down in the rural airport in Karratha, more than 1000 kilometres away.

The flight was then stuck on the tarmac, unable to disembark passengers because the outback town does not have an international service.

Perth Airport flights grounded after major refueling issue
Some passengers were left waiting over six hours across the country in Sydney, as the delays had a knock-on effect. (Supplied)

One passenger, Michaela West, had booked to travel to the UK to see her dying dad, who has two months to live after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

After her flights were cancelled, she rebooked for a flight tomorrow but is $1500 out of pocket until the airline refunds her.

“I just need to get back there. It’s heartbreaking,” she said.

Michaela West, had booked to travel to the UK to see her dying dad, who has two months to live after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Michaela West, had booked to travel to the UK to see her dying dad, who has two months to live after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. (9News)

“I can see he’s deteriorating already, I just want to get back there now while he’s with it.”

Another passenger stranded waiting for a flight in Sydney told 9News they had waited at the airport for nearly seven hours to find out if they could fly.

Earlier, a spokesperson said airlines had been advised not to send aircraft to Perth Airport until further notice unless they had sufficient fuel to make a return flight.

It comes a day after Perth Airport announced a $5 billion deal with Qantas to upgrade the airport with a new terminal and runway.



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