AFF member pn1 was on the diverted Cathay Pacific flight CX105, which departed Hong Kong just after midnight on 25 May. The Airbus A350 was due to land in Melbourne at 11.10am. Instead, this member explains that the flight had to divert while flying over the Northern Territory due to problems with one of the engines. The plane landed safely in Darwin a short time later at around 8am.
After landing in Darwin, all passengers were initially kept on board the aircraft for 90 minutes while the airline worked out what they were going to do and breakfast was served. All passengers were then required to disembark, however passengers were unable to leave the airport as this would require them to clear immigration and customs.
After about 90 minutes during which breakfast was served we were advised that the plane was defective and everyone had to disembark with their hand luggage.
It was further announced that all passengers would be required to remain in the transit lounge indefinitely.
Under no circumstances would anyone be allowed to leave the transit lounge due to customs and immigration requirements.
A B777 replacement aircraft would arrive from Sydney “in the fullness of time”. In the meantime, each passenger could spend up to $30 (only in one transaction) at the transit lounge cafe.
A very strict and thorough security examination was made of each passenger entering the transit lounge.
It’s always a difficult situation when an aircraft diverts to an airport that the airline does not normally fly to. In this case, the plane could not be quickly repaired so Cathay Pacific had no choice but to arrange an alternative aircraft to pick up the hundreds of stranded passengers. The incident aircraft remained on the ground in Darwin for 3 days before returning without passengers to Hong Kong.
As a result of the CX105 diversion, Cathay Pacific cancelled CX100 from Sydney to Hong Kong last Friday and sent the aircraft to Darwin instead. The Boeing 777 picked up the stranded passengers, eventually leaving Darwin at 9.37pm on Friday evening and arriving in Melbourne at 1.42am on Saturday morning – over 14 hours behind schedule.
Given the circumstances, it seems the diversion was handled fairly well by Cathay Pacific. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a safety-first approach. Nonetheless, this resulted in a very long trip home for pn1, who had already taken two flights before boarding CX105 in Hong Kong.
Everyone seemed satisfied with the generous $30 offer considering airport prices.
For my partner and I, presumably a Uber trip home from MEL considering the first 901 bus doesn’t depart until 0531 on. Saturday.
We’d departed Nagoya at 1640 yesterday on CX 539, the milk run to Hong Kong via Taipei.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: CX105 HKG-MEL diverted to DRW