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Phuket Airport investigates Jetstar grounding

PHUKET: Authorities at Phuket International Airport are investigating the grounding of a Jetstar flight on Friday night (May 12) that left overheated passengers trapped in the aircraft for two hours without air conditioning.

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The Phuket News

Monday 15 May 2017, 12:40PM

Authorities at Phuket International Airport are investigating the grounding of the Jetstar flight on Friday night (May 12) that left overheated passengers trapped in the aircraft for two hours without air conditioning.Photo: AFP / file
Authorities at Phuket International Airport are investigating the grounding of the Jetstar flight on Friday night (May 12) that left overheated passengers trapped in the aircraft for two hours without air conditioning.Photo: AFP / file

Five people were removed from the grounded aircraft after fainting due to the heat.

A spokesperson for Airports of Thailand (AoT), which operates, Phuket Airport, told The Phuket News this morning (May 15), “We have yet to learn many details about the incident, but we can confirm we are investigating it.”

The aircraft was due to take off at 10pm, but soon stopped en route to the runway due to “technical faults”.

The budget airline was blasted on social media for the incident over the weekend.

“Jetstar’s service from Phuket to Melbourne overnight is horrific,” wrote student Claire McAlinden‎.

“A plane with no power, no air conditioning and a group of Aussies trying their best to understand why it was taking so long. We ended up staying on the tarmac for 2 hours. Babies were stripped down to nappies and still no answers from the captain.”

McAlinden said after finally disembarking the aircraft at 12:40am, passengers received an email saying the next flight would be at 4pm on Saturday, reported News,

“It took hours for us to be told what to do and where to go. Being told we would have to front the bill for accommodation and travel expenses. Problem after problem after problem. Families with children / little people didn’t get to a hotel until 3:30am,” she wrote.

C and C Marine

Another passenger posted that Jetstar allowed the agitated crowd off only after complaints.

“Finally after people continued to scream out to open the doors and one bloke fainted and started tripping out and a teenage girl began to have breathing issues, the decision was made to let passengers off,” he wrote.

A Jetstar spokesman acknowledged the problem and offered refunds for those not wishing to take the later flight.

“We apologise to all customers and thank them for their patience. The combination of technical issues with the aircraft and a customer needing to get off due to a medical condition meant a lengthy delay to the flight back from Phuket,” he said.

“Our cabin crew tried to make customers as comfortable (as possible), including providing cold water, while engineers were working on the aircraft. We have provided hotel accommodation and meals for all customers.”

The passengers were allocated to reboard the flight at 4pm on Saturday. The passengers arrived back in Melbourne Saturday night.

The incident comes weeks after Jetstar rejected a report naming it the world’s worst airline due to lengthy delays and poor service, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.

About one in three Jetstar passengers reported flight delays and the average hold-up was nearly four hours behind the scheduled time, according to the data complied by 11 international consumer groups including Australia’s Choice.



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Kurt | 16 May 2017 - 13:30:35

Jack Wai:  You are right. But we may not forget that Phuket Airport ground airline staff are not 'equipped ' to handle anything what is not routine.
Seems they not have operation manuals for these happenings.
Without logic they start to react unstructural, or worse, not at all.
The whole affair is very bad publicity for Phuket International Airport.
No good airport management.

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Kurt | 16 May 2017 - 13:12:49

Eagle seems to have forgotten that the Thai Transport Minister was already 2 times at Phuket Airport and checked toilets, after complains reached him in BKK.

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Jack Wai | 16 May 2017 - 13:03:23

There are hundreds of hotels near the airport and lots of limousines services all round the clock. In case this incident could happen again in future as to provide care and conveniences to stranded passengers.

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Jack Wai | 16 May 2017 - 12:54:11

2 hours in the cabin with hundreds of passengers on board with no airconditioning!!! That's the worst safety issue in the airplane.It's like killing innocent people in a gas chamber.The captain should take this a very serious problem.... not just only announcing" sit back relax and enjoy the rediclous horrific flight.

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Pauly44 | 16 May 2017 - 11:17:49

We all know how Thai time operates, they were trying to fix the issue, probably told it would take 20 minutes and still no answer from the engineers 2hrs later! Pilot should have pulled the pin on the flight much earlier and informed the passengers, he should be transferred to an inactive post! 

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Sam hayman | 16 May 2017 - 09:56:25

"World’s worst airline?"

I have to agree. 

Its only a matter of time before Jetstar crashes!!

I only flew Jetstar once from Singapore to Phuket and it returned 2 hours after departure due to a technical issue.

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Kurt | 16 May 2017 - 08:16:41

As long a aircraft captain not get Take Off Clearance he is 'under advice' of the airport ( traffic tower).
The aircraft should have been ordered to return to the gate or waiting platform, with or without the help of a tractor, and disembarked the passengers.

That it had to come to a cabin full of overheated passengers and 5 fainted while standing 'baking' on the tarmac is Airport authorities responsibility.
Older passengers could have died due to heart failure.
On International Airports is always a doctor.
A doctor should have adviced the Phuket airport manager in this matter on medical grounds.
The Phuket airport manager, her 'turn', should have told her traffic tower staff to order the aircraft to return to waiting bay and disembark.

A complete thai soap, one can't make it up. Name the soap..."Trapped".....

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Jor12 | 15 May 2017 - 20:11:27 has nothing to do with Phuket Airport Officials, but the airline itself, more particularly the Piloting captain. Why do you need a "deep" investigation. Just ask the Captain. Pretty much common sense really. 

What "near criminal offences" have been committed?  

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skip | 15 May 2017 - 18:41:51

The captain is responsible in this situation. He should be named and identified and an enquiry by CASA should be held to make the person/s accountable for their actions, or in this case, lack of action. Secondly jetstar have to take full responsibility for their captains actions and show some transparency in how he is dealt with. Thirdly, some serious remuneration should be given to the passengers, not just for the financial loss, but mostly for the grief and hardship incurred in the fiasco. A free upgrade to business class for every passenger, next time they travel on jetstar. Jetstar being so stingy, they probably charged the passengers for the extra water they drank while sweating their arses off in 40 degree heat.I have to tip my hat to the cabin crew on jetstar as i have never encountered any problem with them, however they are regularly delayed on the daily evening flight returning directly to sydney. Thankfully we fly business class only on jetstar as the economy seats are just too close together. If jetstar had a competitor priced similarly doing the same run, they would be out of business. No doubt jetstar dont care, wont do anything and the status quo will remain. Hopefully another carrier will emerge and break the stagnant monopoly jetstar has on this route.

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Kurt | 15 May 2017 - 17:44:32

Time after time the present Phuket International Airport Manager shows not to be fit for her function.
Call it,.." dysfunctional several hierarchic steps to high in the professional tree."

If everything functions normal, including clean toilets ( she didn't care previously), sure the manager has nothing to look after, just some paper work. I am sure she is good in that.

But when situations occur like written in this article, that are times the Phuket Airport manager has to manage.
She, shamefully, didn't.

Phuket International Airport needs a MANAGER ! (male/female)

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