Sixth time in a week: Qantas flight turned back due to incomplete paperwork

Ryan Fletcher /

A Qantas flight was forced to turn around mid-flight during the evening of January 23, 2023, marking the sixth incident to beset the airline in a week. 

Flight QF887 was en route to Perth Airport (PER) from Adelaide International Airport (ADL) when the aircraft, an Airbus A330, was forced to turn back 45 minutes into the flight. 

The flight was approaching Nullarbor, near the Western Australian border when it was discovered that the correct paperwork had not been finalized. The aircraft circled back over the Great Australian Bight, landing back in Adelaide without issues at 18:50 local time.

A passenger who was on the flight posted an update on Twitter to say that the flight turned around due to “some compliance issue”. 

QF887 eventually made it back to Perth four hours behind schedule. 

A Qantas spokesperson told ABC news there were no technical issues with the plane, and the delay was due to airline staff failing to complete paperwork correctly

“Once paperwork was finalized after engineering sign-off in Adelaide, the flight departed for Perth and landed four hours after the scheduled arrival time,” the spokesperson said.

Qantas incidents in January 2023

January 18, 2023 – QF 144 was bound for Sydney from Auckland when flight crew issued a mayday distress signal over the Pacific Ocean. The aircraft landed without further incidents.

January 19, 2023 – QF 101 was flying to Nadi, Fiji when it was forced to turn back to Sydney as a “precaution” after pilots received a warning about a potential mechanical issue. 

January 20, 2023 

QF 430 departed Melbourne and was bound for Sydney, but the Boeing 737 aircraft was forced to circle back after the pilots received an indication of a minor engine issue shortly after takeoff. 

QF 1516 departed Melbourne, and was headed to Canberra, when the Boeing 717 aircraft experienced issues with its flaps and was also forced to turn back to Melbourne Airport.

January 22, 2023 – QF102 was bound for Sydney when it was forced to turn back mid-flight as a precaution after pilots received a report of fumes in the cabin.

No issues at Qantas

Despite a train of incidents that have plagued the airline over the past week, Qantas assured that “there are absolutely no issues at Qantas” during an interview with Sydney news and radio talk show 2GB. 

“The global aviation industry would average about 10,000 diversions or air turn backs per year. We average about 60 per year. Yes, we’ve had four or five in the last week or so. But our pilots are trained always to err on the side of caution, and they will turn back if there are any issues at all,” Andrew David, Qantas domestic and international CEO said in the interview.

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