A misunderstanding between the airline and the airport authorities was cited as the main reason the plane with passengers bound for Bali flew back to Melbourne. He spent eight hours in the air.
Disgruntled passengers were ready to tear the crew of the low-cost Jetstar plane to pieces after it turned out that they landed in Melbourne, and not on the golden beaches of Bali due to someone else’s mistake.
Jetstar flight JQ35 departed Melbourne on Tuesday 27 December at 23:14, 5 hours late. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was in the air for about four hours and crossed five states, reaching the coast of Australia when it suddenly turned around and headed in the opposite direction.
Passengers returned to Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport at almost 7 am on Wednesday.
The airline, a budget subsidiary of Australian carrier Qantas, said the plane was turned back because Indonesian authorities refused to permit it to land in Bali.
Jetstar typically operates smaller, narrow-body aircraft such as the Airbus A321 on this route, and it appears the carrier was unable to secure landing rights for the larger wide-body aircraft that operated on Tuesday evening.
“Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding, the upgrade to a larger aircraft was not approved by the local regulator in Indonesia,” the airline said in a statement.
“As soon as this became clear, the B787 returned to Melbourne and we provided the passengers with another aircraft.”
Jetstar did not provide a reason for the last-minute change of aircraft, but given the flight’s late departure, there may have been a technical issue that prevented the use of the regular aircraft. The airline appears to have selected a free airliner capable of operating the route but has been unable to secure landing rights from the Indonesian authorities.