Another Qantas flight has experienced engine difficulties, with this evening's QF 107 – a Boeing 747-400 from Sydney to Los Angeles – making a mid-journey landing at Nadi airport in Fiji.
Nadi Airport representatives confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the plane had been diverted to land at Fiji's largest airport due to engine trouble.
QF107 passenger Linh Le, a former consultant from Boston, Massachusetts, told Australian Business Traveller that Qantas informed passengers of an "apparent fuel valve problem" with the number 4 engine (located on the right hand side of the plane, furthest away from the passenger cabin).
"QF107 will be stuck overnight in Fiji" Mr Le also told us. "Replacement plane to be sent from SYD." Ironically, he observed, this plane was a last-minute substitution for another aircraft with a fault. "Apparently their spare planes have gremlins too!" Le noted wryly
25 Qantas economy class passengers have been offered space on the nightly Air Pacific FJ810 service from Nadi to LAX, but without their luggage, Mr Le told Australian Business Traveller.
Air Pacific flight FJ810 leaves Nadi at 2250 local time (2050 Sydney time) and arrives into LAX at 1205 US Pacific time.
Other passengers on QF107, which departed Sydney 25 minutes late, will not continue to Los Angeles until the replacement plane has arrived in Fiji. The departure for that aircraft is scheduled for 0945 Fiji time Wednesday morning, or 0745 Sydney time, which would indicate arrival around midnight LA time on Wednesday.
Nadi Airport representatives confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that arrangements are being made for passengers to wait overnight in Fiji while a replacement plane to be flown in from Sydney.
At 2330 local time, Australian Business Traveller confirmed with QF107 passenger Linh Le that passengers had disembarked from the plane about 90 minutes after landing -- and that Nadi airport had only three immigration officers to process the entire passenger load of the 747. Frequent travellers to Nadi will know that this is not an unusually low number for the airport.
Qantas did not return our calls for comment throughout Tuesday evening, and we also note that as of 11.15pm Tuesday night no information this incident was posted to either of Qantas' primary Twitter accounts (@QantasAirways and the @QantasMedia "official Qantas Twitter broadcast channel providing breaking news to the media").
Australian Business Traveller will however post updates to our Twitter account (@AusBT) and on this page.
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.