Friday, March 23, 2012

Rockhampton Bound QantasLink Passengers Forced to Camp at Gladstone Airport

The Gladstone Observer newspaper has reported on Friday 23 March, that "QantasLink passengers were forced to sleep on the floor at the Gladstone Airport terminal on Wednesday night after their flight had three aborted landing attempts at Rockhampton.

Inclement weather delayed flights out of Brisbane all (Wednesday) afternoon and the dramas extended well into the evening and the early hours of Thursday. An afternoon Brisbane-to-Rockhampton flight was cancelled.

The second flight didn't leave Brisbane Airport until 7.45pm and the pilot made three unsuccessful attempts to land the Qantaslink Dash-8 in Rockhampton.

He was unable to see runway lights due to low-level cloud and poor visibility - an earlier flight had also been forced to return to Brisbane.

A decision was made to land the second plane in Gladstone and passengers entered the "closed" terminal just after 10pm.

At 11.17pm Qantaslink informed stranded passengers there was no accommodation available in Gladstone and police had advised the road to Rockhampton was closed.

According to the Queensland Government's QLDAlert website, the Bruce Highway was closed 5km south of Mount Larcom about 9pm and re-opened to traffic about 11pm.

The passengers were told they'd have to sleep inside the terminal, having not had an evening meal, and wait to be flown out the next day.

Qantaslink staff removed some blankets and pillows from the plane, but passengers had to sleep on the terminal floor, across seats, and in the Qantas lounge, which was opened to all.

The stranded passengers had access to refreshments and snack food.

The remaining passengers at the airport were flown on to Rockhampton on a special direct service which departed Gladstone at 8.45am Thursday. Qantas apologised for any inconvenience.

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