Qantas Despatches A380 to retrieve passengers stranded in Azerbaijan

A Qantas A380 departs Sydney airport
Edwin Leong, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Following yesterday’s unscheduled diversion of Qantas flight QF1 from Singapore to London, an Airbus A380 operating as QF6025 has been despatched from Sydney to retrieve passengers stranded in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Yesterday’s incident

Early on the morning of Friday December 23, a Qantas Airbus A380 on a scheduled service from Singapore to London was forced to make an unscheduled precautionary landing in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The Airbus A380, registered VH-OQH and designated Flight QF1, had departed Singapore Changi Airport at 12.44am local time and was approximately 9 hours into its scheduled non-stop flight to London Heathrow Airport, when flight crew declared an emergency over Georgia and made a precautionary diversion to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

The aircraft was met by emergency services on arrival at Heydar Aliyev International Airport (GYD, and passengers were disembarked without incident.

The Qantas flight crew appears to have followed standard procedures after a reported intermittent cockpit warning from the fire warning system in a cargo hold area.

Recovery flight

Flight track of Qantas flight from Sydney to Baku, Azerbaijan
Source: Flightradar24

The recovery flight, an Airbus A380 registered VH-OQD and designated Qantas flight QF6025 departed Sydney at 11.40am local time today enroute to Baku, Azerbaijan.

This aircraft is from the pool of operational ‘standby aircraft’ which Qantas has placed on readiness over the peak festive period travel season to accommodate unforeseen incidents such as this.

The recovery flight is also carrying Qantas engineering staff, who will investigate a suspected fault in a cargo hold sensor system.

The fact that a recovery aircraft is involved could suggest that the crew of QF1 may have discharged fire extinguishers as a precautionary measure, though this is conjecture and had not yet been confirmed.

According to a Guardian news report, the emergency retrieval flight was negotiated expeditiously by Qantas, with approvals from seven foreign governments to accommodate the flight operation.

Qantas thanked the governments concerned for “urgently processing the necessary flight path approvals for this one-off recovery flight.”

The spokesperson for the airline also issued an apology to passengers involved in the incident, saying:

“We have apologised and thank them for their patience while we finalised the recovery plans. They have spent the night at the Marriott Hotel and been provided meals and transport. We’re providing regular updates to customers on the recovery plan.”

“We’d also like to thank the pilots and crew who operated the disrupted service for their professionalism and their support to customers.”

The stranded passengers will arrive at London Heathrow Airport on Christmas morning.

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