Qantas dumps passengers luggage in Darwin en route to London

Lost baggage on a conveyor belt at the airport.

Qantas passengers en route to London have more than drawn the short straw after their luggage was dumped in Darwin.

Passengers on flight QF1 discovered their bags were left in the NT as the works on Darwin Airport’s runway prevented the airline’s planes from taking off without a lighter load.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a Qantas spokesman said the passengers’ baggage would arrive on a later flight as passengers complained that their baggage was arriving up to three days late with no communication from the airline.

“An issue with the runway pavement at Darwin Airport resulted in temporary additional weight restrictions on our flights to London last week and unfortunately that meant we weren’t able to carry some passengers’ bags on their flight,” the spokesman said.

“Bags were re-accommodated on later flights and are couriered directly to customers as soon as we’re able to confirm the correct address.

“We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused our passengers and thank them for their understanding.”

“We’re advised that the pavement issue causing the weight restriction has now been fixed,” the spokesman said.

A spokeswoman from Darwin said that the maintenance works and the wet season were partly to blame for the mix-up. She also warned of more repairs to the runway in the coming weeks.

“It’s been in the last week that this was discovered,” the spokeswoman said.

“We’ve had to undertake runway repairs, that’s impacted the length of the runway, which affects the larger aircraft because they need a longer runway to take off.”

Darwin Airport’s runway usually runs over 3km and operates 24 hours a day.

The Department of Defence and the airport have a joint-user agreement and the department oversees repairs and maintenance work.

The repairs were completed on 30 April, according to Defence, and said it would work with the Airport Development Group to make sure future repairs or maintenance work had minimal impact.

“This particular repair has been completed, but there will be ongoing repairs required to the runway, so we’ll obviously be keeping that impact to an absolute minimum where we can,” she said.

“The larger aircraft are the ones that go to London, they’re the ones that are impacted. At the end of the day the Qantas flights are going to be returning to Perth,” she said.

Qantas rerouted its two non-stop flights from Western Australia to Darwin after WA’s strict border laws over the pandemic.

Flights between Perth and London are expected to resume in mid-June but may resume sooner if maintenance work in Darwin drags on.

Qantas recently confirmed non-stop flights from Sydney to London and New York are scheduled for late 2025. This is possible because of the flying kangaroo’s order of a dozen A350-1000s.

Image: iStock/PLBernier

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