Seven injured as Qantas Airbus slams passengers into the ceiling

A Qantas Airbus A330-300 flew through what airline staff referred to as a “severe meteorological incident”.

The “incident” was actually bad turbulence, and it was so severe that the plane plummeted, sending passengers into the ceiling.

The flight was en route from Hong Kong to Perth when it hit the turbulence. Because the drop was so sudden, the flight crew did not have the time to warn passengers to be strapped in, though it does underline how important it is to have your seat belt buckled at all times.

It isn’t hard to see some similarities between this flight and the recent crash of Air France flight 447 – especially since both were on the exact same type of plane.

Planes often rely on information from other aircraft on the same route to report on turbulence, but if the route is not very busy, it may be hours between reports.

Bad turbulence can cause severe injuries, a collection of some of the most recent incidents involving bad turbulence can be found in the gallery posted below:


More crazy stories from the skies

Airline complains about fees?!

Like all airlines, Qantas is looking to cut costs. And, it saw an opportunity by forming partnerships with some of Australia‘s airports. If all were to go according to plan, Qantas could make a dent in its annual airport costs of $544 million (AU$700 million). While some airports are willing to play ball, others (like Sydney and Brisbane) aren’t … leaving an airline to complain about fees, for a change.

Taking a page from the playbook of (in)famous Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary, Alan Joyce (top dog at Qantas) made a rather hostile public announcement, “Airports are very, very good at earning revenues out of everything you could imagine – if they could charge for oxygen at the airport they probably would.”

Joyce and Qantas recently came under fire for charging up to $124 (AU$160) exit row seating and calling it “giving passengers more of an option.” He also says that Qantas is following the trend rather than blazing the trail when it comes to additional fees.

Qantas is facing a loss for the second half of its fiscal year, the first time this has happened since the SARS outbreak in 2003.

Whether Qantas gets relief is immaterial … all that matters is that it’s found a way to pass the buck.

Naval officer finishes flight in restraints

Something happened between Melbourne, Australia and London, England. A Lieutenant Commander from Canberra “became rowdy” in the sky and “accosted” another passenger. The details of the encounter were not revealed, but the Sydney Morning Herald reports that it involved a scuffle, landed the sailor in restraints and ended with arrest when the plane touched down at Heathrow Airport.

During the flight, the crew was able to subdue the naval officer to keep him from further scuffling with other passengers. What the team in the sky began, Metropolitan Police finished, when they took the 57-year-old into custody in London.

Apparently, the alleged perp was said to be “behaving oddly.”

Airbus A380 is a big plane and a big pain in the behind

The Airbus A380 has been in service for over 16 months and a total of 13 of these monsters have been delivered to airlines around the world.

One of those airlines is Qantas, who use the plane on their Sydney-Los Angeles route.

Of course, a plane this big offers some major logistical challenges to designers, but the airports they visit get their fair share of hassles too.

Los Angeles airport has had to make special arrangements for the superjumbo, including shutting down service roads and halting other aircraft on taxiways when the plane is being positioned. The wingspan of the A380 is so big that it actually intrudes on the safety zone on either side of the tarmac.

When the A380 is ready for takeoff, air traffic controllers make sure their tower is fully staffed, and the plane receives priority over any other traffic. The plane is so big, that when it prepares to take off in bad weather, the tower tries to let it get airborne as soon as possible to prevent its jumbo size from blocking radio transmissions from airport towers.

Still, despite the hassles, the plane is a blessing for an airport suffering from the global decline in air traffic – LAX has lost 650 flights a day, and since airports make money off planes and passengers, having a superjumbo visit your airport is a sure way to make up for some of those losses.

(Via: LA Times Online)

Qantas CEO Hints at Future Merger

Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon might be stepping down from his post after eight hectic years, but he still has something to say about the future of the famous Australian airline. Though he did not announce a merger, Dixon stated that a future merger is “inevitable.”

“For Qantas, consolidation is highly desirable. It is in our interests to be at the leading edge of efforts to build a global airline grouping.”

However, he did not give any further details, leading some to believe that he is just letting off steam after running up against stiff government restrictions concerning the percentage of foreign ownership allowed of Australian airlines. Attempts to merge with Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand were less than successful.

Dixon will leave Qantas in relatively stable condition, all things considered. He will hand a profitable company over to Alan Joyce, the current CEO of Jetstar (the low-cost-carrier affiliated with Qantas). The airline claims to have saved money because it operates more fuel-efficient aircraft.

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