Last night, Friday 16 August 2019, a much-welcomed visitor appeared in the skies above Adelaide. Qatar Airways (QR) Airbus A380-800 diverted to Adelaide Airport due to severe weather in Perth, its seems like a long way to go for a diversion but it was the closest airport that would accommodate an A380 and provide enough resources to passengers on board to stay the night while also having the ability to make a early morning connection to Perth if they had to be in Perth as soon as possible.
The superjumbo was operating the daily service between Doha and Perth, operating under the flight number QR900.
The aircraft departed Doha early that morning, departing from Gate C12 at Hamad International Airport on time at 0200hrs (02:00am AST).
A7-APE has been with the airline since new in 2015. The aircraft was previously registered in France with the registration F-WWSC during all the pre-delivery test flights at Airbus. From the Airbus Factory in Toulouse, France the aircraft was registered A7-APE, it was the manufactures 191st Airbus A380-800 to be built and was delivered on 11 June 2015. The aircraft is only four years old at the time of posting this article.
The flight from Doha to Perth flew at a cruising altitude of 39,000ft until it reached the west cost of Western Australia, where it began its descent into Perth International Airport. During its time coming into land the aircraft was placed into a holding pattern for 33 minutes, going around in four continuous circles before setting sights onto Adelaide Airport at 1838hrs (06:38pm AWST).
As soon as the pilots set their flight path to Adelaide world quickly spread right around the Plane Spotting Community, but it wasn’t without everyone second guessing the special diversion with FlightRadar24 showing a pre-determined position according to its original arrival airport (Perth). The position on the map showed that the aircraft was heading back to Perth as there were no ADSB receivers on ground to reflect the current location of the aircraft, often referred to as a ‘blind spot’.
Thankfully, no true Plane/Aviation Spotter relies on one source of information, flight Radar was showing the correct location information and it was in fact heading straight towards Adelaide over the Indian Ocean.
The flight touched down at 2237hrs (10:37pm ACST) utilising the main runway, Runway 23 (RWY23) at Adelaide Airport. The superjumbo taxied off the runway using ‘Foxtrot 5’ via ‘Alpha 4’ and ‘Lima’ to its arrival gate of Gate 18, the total taxiing time took 10 minutes.
Passengers shortly disembarked the aircraft and no doubt headed straight to a nearby hotel to enjoy an extended days holiday in Adelaide.
The aircraft stayed the night parked up on taxiway ‘Foxtrot 1’ just behind the Long-Term Car Park. This provided an amazing viewing area allowing Plane Spotters and Aviation Enthusiasts to get up close to this incredible aircraft.
This was the first time we have ever seen a Qatar A380-800 in Adelaide, making A7-APE having the maiden honours of being the first. We were all extremely lucky that it got to spend an extra day in Adelaide so we could all admire its beauty.
Estimated time of departure for this beauty is 2350hrs (11:50pm ACST), with Adelaide Airport confirming that it has been granted dispensation to depart after curfew.
The airline has been granted dispensation to depart after curfew this evening.Adelaide Airport, via Facebook
Approximately around 2000hrs (08:00pm ACST) the aircraft taxied around to Gate 20 for departure.
While A380’s are a rare sight in Adelaide we have been lucky to have two arrive this year so far, following on from the Singapore Airlines A380-800 in January. As they say, things often come in threes…….
So, time will tell when the next one will be here, watch this space!
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© Aussie Weekend Traveller (Bradley Hogg) 2019.