Around 200 Qantas passengers were detained by police after their flight arrived in Melbourne after it emerged that someone onboard the flight from Sydney had managed to get onboard the plane without passing through airport security screening.
Qantas flight QF487 was delayed on the tarmac at Melbourne after the short one-hour flight from Sydney on Wednesday as police swooped on the plane to stop passengers from exiting into the terminal building.
In Australia, passengers arriving on domestic flights mingle with departing passengers in the airport terminal so allowing an ‘unscreened’ passenger off the plane would pose a potential security issue.
As a result, around 200 passengers aboard the Qantas-operated Airbus A330 aircraft had to be escorted by police and security officers out of the airport to prevent them from coming into contact with security-screened departing passengers.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Qantas confirmed that a single passenger had “inadvertently” passed from an area of the airport where security screening isn’t required and into the secure ‘airside’ part of the domestic terminal.
“As a precaution, all passengers on QF487 were escorted from the aircraft when it landed in Melbourne and taken through the screened part of the airport into the unscreened area,” the airline spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
“We will investigate to understand how this incident occurred, and we apologise for any inconvenience to passengers on the flight.”
Sydney airport declined to comment on the incident, although a source confirmed that Qantas was responsible for managing the transit of screened and unscreened passengers at the checkpoint where the passenger passed through.
The embattled carried was recently forced to hit back at a damning ‘Four Corners’ report which told a story of “ruthless cost-cutting and a divide and conquer culture” at the airline.
Qantas accepts that passengers are angry about cancellations, delays and misplaced bags but the airline says there’s been a “significant improvement” in service levels in recent weeks and that business decisions made during the pandemic were necessary for the very survival of the brand.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.