Diverted superjumbo lands in New Caledonia for first time
A Qantas Airbus A380 landed in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia for the first time Wednesday after the superjumbo was diverted from Sydney because of bad weather, officials said.
"It's a first for us," William Grillon, deputy head of operations at the Noumea airport, told AFP.
"But we were ready to receive this large aircraft, as the airport in New Caledonia is a diversion airport for the region's airspace," he said.
The Qantas plane with 375 passengers and 26 crew aboard was heading to Sydney from Los Angeles, but poor weather forecast for Australia's entire east coast forced it to divert.
"QF12 diverted to Noumea this morning for extra fuel due to heavy fog forecast for Sydney ... and the eastern seaboard," a Qantas spokeswoman said.
"Safety is our first priority, hence the Captain made the decision to divert to Noumea for additional fuel."
The crew had exceeded their maximum allowed flying time, and so the passengers were awaiting a Qantas Boeing 747 to take them onto Sydney, Grillon said.
"The flight will now operate from Noumea to Sydney this afternoon arriving in Sydney at approximately 6.15pm," Qantas said.
© 2010 AFP