Published: Sat, October 06, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

United Airlines low fuel mayday triggers Australia emergency landing

United Airlines low fuel mayday triggers Australia emergency landing

A "fuel Mayday" from a United Airlines Boeing 787 landing in Sydney from Los Angeles sparked what may be the world's shortest road closure as part of an emergency response on Thursday.

The country's airspace authority, Airservices Australia, said the response was standard procedure when a mayday is called. An airport representative said there were no further delays as a result of the emergency and that the airport remained operational.

Safety regulator Airservices Australia said no passengers were at risk during the landing and that the mayday call was triggered automatically because the plane's fuel gauge dropped below a certain level.

Major roads around the airport were closed briefly as a precaution just after 6.30am, but reopened shortly after the plane landed safely.

"There's an worldwide standard that requires that, once you get down to your fuel reserve in a flight, you have to declare what is called a 'fuel mayday, '" Gibson told AAP.

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The U.S. airline said in a statement Flight 839 landed safely at Sydney International Airport "following a mechanical issue".

"It doesn't mean you have no fuel left, and you have to land right away", she said. Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson told AAP stronger headwinds than were forecast for the 12,000-kilometre flight across the Pacific could burn more fuel than had been planned.

Indeed, according to the BBC, the plane would have had enough fuel to last at least 45 minutes.

Most passengers on board were reportedly unaware the alarm had been raised.

"Everyone was calm, there was no panic, there was no announcement", passenger Ian Lambert told Channel Nine News.

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