A Qantas flight bound for Fiji’s Nadi International Airport (NAN) was forced to turn back to Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD) as a “precaution” after pilots received a warning about a potential mechanical issue.
Flight QF 101 pushed back at around 08:30 local time on January 19, 2023, and the Boeing 737-800 aircraft circled above the coast of New South Wales for roughly two hours before landing back in SYD at 10:50 local time.
A Qantas spokesperson told Australian media ABC News that the pilots followed standard procedure after receiving a “fault indicator”, and that engineers would examine the plane.
“Our Sydney to Fiji flight has returned to Sydney as a precaution after pilots received a fault indicator about a potential mechanical issue,” the spokesperson said. “The pilots followed standard procedures and the aircraft has landed normally in Sydney.”
Because it was not classified as an emergency situation, AirServices Australia, a government-owned organization that regulates Australian skies, did not give QF 101 priority landing.
The grounded flight is Qantas’ second incident in two days, as another B737 aircraft of the airline issued a mayday distress signal over the Pacific Ocean while flying towards SYD from Auckland Airport (AKL) on January 18, 2023.
The Australian flag carrier has had two flight diversions with its A380 aircraft over the past month—one, in Azerbaijan in December 2022 due to an intermittent fault indicator in the cockpit, and the other to Greece due to a medical emergency onboard. Both were QF 1 flights, Sydney to London via Singapore.