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Perth airport fuel problem: Flights resume but chronic delays to continue for frustrated travellers forced to sleep in cars

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Nearly 60 flights were cancelled at a major Australian airport due to a refuelling issue which has since been resolved, but has caused chaos with a major backlog.

Travellers heading to or departing Perth Airport were left in limbo due to a fuel load pressure issue in the supply system which meant planes could not be refuelled.

Perth Airport announced on Saturday afternoon the issue had been resolved with the help of external experts.

‘We will continue to monitor the situation closely in the event of any further issues,’ a spokesperson said in a statement on Saturday.

The spokesperson said 59 domestic and international flights had been cancelled due to the operational issue.

Some of the cancelled flights include departures to Sydney, Darwin, Brisbane, Kuala Lumpur and Bali, and arrivals from the same locations. 

Some flights were diverted to other airports including a flight from London which was forced to land in Karratha in WA’s north.

Many inconvenienced passengers expressed their anger at the lack of communication

Many inconvenienced passengers expressed their anger at the lack of communication 

The Perth Airport website shows there are still dozens of delayed international and domestic flights

The Perth Airport website shows there are still dozens of delayed international and domestic flights

Many inconvenienced passengers expressed their anger at the lack of communication.

Tom and Migs Davies had been at the airport since 11pm on Friday, ready to board their 2am flight to Singapore.

The couple weren’t advised their flight had been cancelled until 9am Saturday morning.

They told The West Australian the lack of communication and confusion was ‘absolutely shambolic’. 

‘We are going to sleep in our car, because we don’t know when the aeroplane that we’re apparently booked on is going to take off, we haven’t got our luggage back either, so we’re trying to find that at the moment,’ Mr Davies said.

Tess Bullock and Malik Winnett had their flights to Bali cancelled.

‘We’re annoyed as we’ve put in work leave for this. It’s shortening our holiday.’ 

‘We’re losing a couple hundred on accommodation, we’ve put our dog in a kennel,’ Ms Bullock said.

Another passenger said they received no communication about their canceled flight, ‘We got our kids out of bed in the middle of the night … but it is what it is, what can you do?’

The airport said it would work with airlines to clear the backlog of flights to help passengers get to their destinations.

‘We again thank both passengers and our airline partners for their patience and understanding,’ the spokesperson said.

Perth Airport website shows there are still dozens of delayed international and domestic flights.

Qantas issued an update earlier on Saturday for its travellers explaining the cancellations and delays were due to no fuel being available to any aircraft on the ground at the airport.

‘We’re in constant contact with Perth Airport for updates and are working hard to find an interim solution to get customers on their way as quickly as possible,’ the airline said in a statement.

Affected customers are being contacted directly and all travellers are warned to check their flight status before heading to the airport.

Travellers are being warned to check their flight status before heading to the airport. 

Federal minister Matt Keogh expressed his frustration for passengers, saying it is a ‘highly stressful’ situation.

‘I feel for the passengers firstly, because whenever one is caught up with chaos at an airport, it’s highly stressful,’ he told reporters on Saturday.

Passengers departing from Perth on Saturday are urged to contact their airline for more information about their flights.

The airport spokesperson apologised to travellers and to airlines for the significant impact.

‘We understand that this has been a difficult and frustrating morning for passengers and our airline partners,’ the spokesperson said.



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