JETSTAR flight JQ660, en route to Uluru, was forced to make an emergency landing at Mildura Airport at approximately 12.30 pm today after declaring an emergency, when a smoke alarm warning was triggered in the cockpit.
In line with safety procedures, the pilot issued a mayday call and requested clearance to land in Mildura. The A320 airbus which had departed from Sydney Airport at 10.30 am, landed safely and was met by emergency services, including fire tenders from Mildura.
All passengers were transferred to the airport terminal to await their replacement aircraft’s arrival which was expected to be at around 4pm today.
Mildura Airport CEO Trevor Willcock said the emergency was declared by the Jetstar crew in line with company procedures.
“The pilots are required to follow the emergency procedures and immediately diverted to Mildura after the alarm was raised, and they landed safely thank goodness,” Mr Willcock said.
“The emergency services were here very quickly – within 15 minutes of the alert being raised from the airport – they were organised, and carried out their roles extremely well and deserve to be commended,” he said.
“It was a really good team effort by everyone involved onsite.”
Mr Willcock said the airport safety plan swung into action immediately upon receiving the emergency call from the aircraft.
“We are required to carry out either a desk-top, or a full scale emergency exercise every year, and so to see it in action- working as it should – was very pleasing,” he said.
Mildura Airport’s main runway has the capability to allow large passenger jets to land safely, including 737’s and the A320’s, something Mr Willcock said was an important improvement made to the airport in recent years.
“Officially Mildura is one of the emergency stop-off points and we are quite close to a major flight corridor where a large amount of aircraft traffic flies through, so it’s good to know that we can land these planes in the event of an emergency or whenever they need to.”
Mr Willcock said that the latest news from Jetstar is that they are hoping to fly an aircraft into Mildura late this afternoon to collect the passengers and take them onto their destination.
“Just how long this aircraft will stay here isn’t yet known, but of course it has to be thoroughly checked over – we have plenty of space on the tarmac, so it isn’t a problem,” he said.