Emirates defends curfew breach

Emirates defends curfew breach
By admin

The head of Emirates in Australia has appealed to the government to see “common sense” as transport officials probe breaches of Sydney Airport’s curfew.

Barry Brown admitted that a flight on January 8 departed after the 11pm cut off time but defended the decision. He told Travel Today it was made in the interests of more than 500 passengers and for the greater good of New South Wales and Sydney.
The NSW Tourism Industry Council has backed Emirates’ stance, branding the rigid curfew regulations as “absurd”.
Brown explained that thunderstorms prevented the A380 from refuelling which led to the delayed departure.
“We had a full load, about 550 on board, and there is no way we could have found accommodation in Sydney for that number of people at that time of night,” Brown said. “It would have created huge inconvenience for our passengers so the decision was taken to depart.”
The aircraft took off without refuelling “around 11.30pm”, according to Brown and touched down in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo to refuel.
“We felt the decision was also in the interests of Sydney and New South Wales,” he said. “We have produced a report and we hope common sense will prevail. We just have to wait and see.”
The Department of Infrastructure and Transport is analysing Emirates’ explanation into the curfew breach, which carries a maximum fine of $550,000.
It is believed the department has also raised other breaches by Emirates although Brown insisted special dispensation had been given on previous occasions.
The issue will again raise the debate over the strict nature of Sydney’s curfew. The Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) submitted a report in December urging “increased dispensation parameters…to include weather and technical events” (Travel Today, December 20).
“Such a measure will reduce the risk profile of Sydney Airport among some carriers in terms of being grounded or passengers missing connections due to the curfew,” the TTF said in its submission to the NSW Industry Action Plan.
NSW Tourism Industry Council also called for a review and argued that a change to “outdated” legislation is needed if tourist arrival targets are to be hit.
General manager Andrew Jefferies said: “It is simply absurd that carriers are not given dispensation to depart after the curfew in the event of weather related delays particularly when thunderstorms drastically reduce or stop aircraft movements altogether.”
A relaxation of the regulations was necessary “so that inbound tourists continue to have a positive experience of Sydney, NSW and Australia”.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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