It is well outside, but the Minister for Transport's delegate can approve dispensations.
Normally, aircraft should have received pre-curfew taxiway clearance, yet this may not be possible for VA896. More than a year ago, I remember jb747 making the point that if an aircraft received this clearance at say 2243 hours, it could in theory depart the aircraft much later.
(hard to see how tonight includes the first of the three circumstances: supposedly, dispensations must satisfy all three to be granted):
In exceptional circumstances,an operator may apply to the Department for approval to take-off or land during the curfew (a curfew dispensation). All requests for permission to take-off or land are made through a Curfew Duty Officer who will assess the situation in relation to a set of criteria which must be met before permission to take-off or land can be granted.
Three primary criteria must be met for permission to take-off or and at Sydney Airport:
1.The circumstances are immediate in origin(e.g.they occurred at the time of preparing to depart from, or commencing a flight to arrive at, Sydney Airport.
2.Of such character that they could not reasonably have been foreseen(e.g. mechanical fault, passengers who fail to board requiring baggage offload etc.)
3.Not reasonably able to be met by alternative arrangements(e.g. flight cancellations, using other aircraft, or other modes of transport).
When all three of these criteria are satisfied, the following matters may be taken into account to determine whether permission to take-off or land should be granted:
By what margin the movement falls into the curfew period (i.e. whether shortly after 11.00pm or shortly before 6.00am).
Whether the cause of the delay is within the control of the operator.
On the first day, Friday 28 May 2021, of a hastily arranged seven day Victoria-wide lockdown - a nightmare for airline operations staff, and costing much lost revenue to boot - VAD (if I can correctly count) cancelled 24 of 59 scheduled flights ex MEL.
I haven't looked up following days but logic would suggest this percentage of inoperable trips that are cancelled will increase, as the pool of 'eligible passengers' would decrease compared to the initial day.
Reflecting the pariah status of Victorians (with three of the four lockdowns having been the Victorian Government's fault), on Sunday 30 May 2021, from SYD to MEL, VAd is cancelling nine scheduled flights and only operating eight.
Very abnormally, QFd is operating seven and cancelling 15, so as far as a choice of departure times, VAd offers more today southbound.
I've not had a squiz as to whether any QFds are widebodies: if so, it may still have more seats available than VAd.
The only flight operated by VAd on Sunday 6 June 2021 (during the extended lockdown that's become a fortnight) from SYD down to MEL is VA896 at 2115 hours mid evening.
Counting all operators, there are just 10 SYD - MEL southbounds today. On a 'normal' Sunday, my guess is QFd would have had 30 or slightly more, JQd another 12-15, VAd similar to JQd or slightly above, and new entrant ZL five, so a total of around 65-70.
VA565 (1720 hours SYD across to PER) is not expected to depart until 2030 tonight.
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