A thick blanket of fog that has been affecting Australia hit Perth yesterday and caused flight delays at the airport. Some of the flights had to be diverted to other cities.
Among those affected were 318 passengers onboard Air Asia D7 236, who were scheduled to take off at 2355 from Kuala Lumpur to arrive in Perth at 0725 this morning. Instead, they were flown to Melbourne, and have been there since 1049. A flight is arranged for 2145 tonight to take them to the Western Australian capital. There are still 351 Air Asia passengers stranded at the Perth airport, and they have been given the option to stay and wait with food and drinks provided, or return later when the flight is rescheduled.
Although the fog has cleared, flight rotation has been affected and caused a domino effect. As a result, some 2,000 of the low-cost carrier's passengers scheduled to depart the Malaysian capital for their flights to Tokyo, Taipei and Perth today are facing delays of up to two hours. All affected passengers are notified of changes through various means including email and SMS.
A spokesperson from Air Asia said all flights should return to normal tomorrow (Thursday).
Meanwhile two morning Qantas flights, one from Hong Kong and the other from Brisbane, were diverted to Alice Springs and Adelaide respectively. The A330 aircraft from Hong Kong eventually touched down in Perth at about 0900, four hours later then scheduled, once the fog had cleared and conditions were more favourable. Passengers on the flight from Brisbane were transported to Perth via other services.
Seven Qantas flights out of Perth were also delayed by about 15-90 minutes, but are now all said to be leaving on schedule, according to a Qantas spokesperson. All of the carrier's passengers on flights in and out of Perth are now at their desired destinations, she confirmed.
The 2010 Hong Kong-Perth Cathay Pacific service, which departed as scheduled last night and intended to land in Perth at 0545 local time today, was diverted to Port Headland. The A340 eventually touched down in Perth at 1430, safely delivering all its 161 passengers.
According to a Perth Airport spokesperson, the fog has now cleared and no additional disruptions are anticipated. Those booked on flights heading for Perth are advised to check the airport website, www.perthairport.com.au or the Australian Government's Meteorology Department's website www.bom.gov.au.
Reggie Ho, Alex Andersson and Michelle Fong