United Airlines stranded at immigrationless Canberra

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jb747

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Welcome to Australia, please just queue up in a similar fashion as would in West Congo for your food. Oh dear.

Actually that's how customs/immigration always strikes me, here, and in the USA and UK.

Singapore on the other hand...very simple and pleasant.
 

ozbeachbabe

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What procedures in place would allow the passengers (and crew) on board off the aircraft in this regard in an otherwise uncontrolled situation (i.e. they have not been officially allowed to enter the country)?

If diverting to BNE was a case of "hey Mav we've got no fuel for this" & CBR was it, couldn't CBR Apt/Aust CBP rustle up some staff locally to process pax?

If not, they should've flown a team in from SYD cleared all the pax & their bags then chartered a fleet of buses to take everyone to SYD.

I take it CBR has a pallet loader suitable for unloading a 747.
 
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What would clearing customs in CBR and/or sticking the passengers on buses to SYD actually achieve? To me it seems to be a lot of effort and expense for no material gain (either way everybody ends up in SYD eventually).

300 or so people would need around 10 buses and given that QF and VA are both Pacific competitors, I doubt that they'd be too keen to do any favours for cheap flights; it hardly seems worth the effort given they were allowed off the aircraft and got to line up behind a food truck famine-style. But maybe that's why I don't work in customer relations.
 

Himeno

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If diverting to BNE was a case of "hey Mav we've got no fuel for this" & CBR was it, couldn't CBR Apt/Aust CBP rustle up some staff locally to process pax?
As has already been mentioned, there are customs staff based at CBR airport and more possible staff a few kms down the road at agency HQ. They were available if UA asked for them. UA didn't. Doing so would have created more problems.

then chartered a fleet of buses to take everyone to SYD.
Why? While it is possible they could have found the 10 odd buses it would have required from the 3 interstate bus operators in the Canberra area, it would have taken the same amount of time to do so as getting new crew down from SYD to collect the aircraft and pax and cost more when it wasn't needed.

I take it CBR has a pallet loader suitable for unloading a 747.
CBR can handle anything upto a 747, but normally only takes 767/A330 size and smaller with 737/E190/717/Dash8 the most common.
 

ozbeachbabe

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Why? While it is possible they could have found the 10 odd buses it would have required from the 3 interstate bus operators in the Canberra area, it would have taken the same amount of time to do so as getting new crew down from SYD to collect the aircraft and pax and cost more when it wasn't needed.

If they were bussed up only the tech crew would've had to position to CBR to fly the 744 back and the pax would've got to SYD early afternoon so those with onward flights could have still got to their final destination that day.

What time did they eventually depart CBR? I heard it was well after 1700 so they would've had to overnight pax in SYD by then.
 

Himeno

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If they were bussed up only the tech crew would've had to position to CBR to fly the 744 back and the pax would've got to SYD early afternoon so those with onward flights could have still got to their final destination that day.
And by the time they got processed at CBR, sorted out buses to SYD and got to SYD, it would have been the same time as the flight got there anyway.
UA doesn't fly 747s to Australia anymore. They have 777-200ERs from SFO and LAX to SYD and 787 on LAX-MEL.
 
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jb747

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If they were bussed up only the tech crew would've had to position to CBR to fly the 744 back and the pax would've got to SYD early afternoon so those with onward flights could have still got to their final destination that day.

What time did they eventually depart CBR? I heard it was well after 1700 so they would've had to overnight pax in SYD by then.

If they had to pick the aircraft up from Canberra, the onwards flights were already toast. Given that they had to get the aircraft anyway, they're not likely to make alternative arrangements for the passengers.
 

DC3

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I thought that the main runway in SYD remained open throughout the day, and that only the third runway was shut down.

So, how does a 777, inbound to SYD, end up in CBR?

Have I missed something here?
 

harvyk

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I thought that the main runway in SYD remained open throughout the day, and that only the third runway was shut down.

So, how does a 777, inbound to SYD, end up in CBR?

Have I missed something here?


A closed runway in CBR will do it.
 

Himeno

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I thought that the main runway in SYD remained open throughout the day, and that only the third runway was shut down.

So, how does a 777, inbound to SYD, end up in CBR?

Have I missed something here?
One runway down with same amount of flights. Can't accommodate everyone and no ATC priority given to the arriving long haul flights.
 

Boris spatsky

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I thought that the main runway in SYD remained open throughout the day, and that only the third runway was shut down.

So, how does a 777, inbound to SYD, end up in CBR?

Have I missed something here?

Sydney around that time of day requires 20 minutes of holding fuel for all arrivals. Canberra is about 130 nautical miles further (great circle route) than Sydney, which is roughly 20 minutes flight time at cruise altitude.

Based on the benign weather that day, I would assume that they were carrying around minimum reserves plus 20 minutes for arrival into Sydney. I also expect that when the runway was shut, all traffic was told that there would be delays of up to 30 minutes or more (probably by hazard alert, which is an ATC broadcast to advise of issues that were not notified by NOTAM). At this point, i would expect that the crew did not have 30 minutes of fuel on top of their minimums, so therefore could not hold. Canberra was a suitable alternate (and probably already on their flight plan as filed alternate), was only 20 minutes extra, and would ensure that the aircraft landed with the legal minimum reserve. So off they went to Canberra, landed with legal reserves with a normal landing.

This is an educated guess but knowing Sydney pretty well, I would assume that this is roughly how it unfolded.
 

DC3

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...... This is an educated guess but knowing Sydney pretty well, I would assume that this is roughly how it unfolded.


Thanks for the information, Boris spatsky.


I guess that we may not be any better off if something similar happened to a QF A380 returning to SYD from (say) LAX. There wouldn't be too many QF A380 pilots in terminals at SYD or MEL, waiting to be re-deployed to CBR.
 

OzEire

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Thanks for the information, Boris spatsky.


I guess that we may not be any better off if something similar happened to a QF A380 returning to SYD from (say) LAX. There wouldn't be too many QF A380 pilots in terminals at SYD or MEL, waiting to be re-deployed to CBR.

Actually, I did this as a pax a few years back. My QF A380 LAX-MEL diverted to SYD due fog in MEL. On the ground in SYD for about 90 mins for a minor refuel and then on to MEL (yes, a very odd 'domestic' sector in a 380). Either crew had enough hours left for refuel and the MEL leg, or another 380 tech crew took over in SYD. Cabin crew remained the same.
 
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