A Jetstar flight from Melbourne to Bali was forced to make a U-turn more than four hours into the flight and divert back to Melbourne after it was denied approval to land in Indonesia.
The budget carrier has blamed a “miscommunication” with the local regulator in Indonesia after the flight – which was already delayed by about five hours when it departed Tullamarine airport around 11pm Tuesday – was forced to turn around and return to the airport.
The plane was flying over the north-west coast of Australia and had been in the air for more than four hours of the six-hour journeywhen it was turned back due to the model of the aircraft.
The flight had originally been scheduled to run on an Airbus A321 – which it had permission to land – but was later “swapped … to a larger Boeing 787 aircraft to carry more customers during the holidays”, a spokesperson said.
“Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication, the swap to a larger aircraft had not been approved by the local regulator in Indonesia. As soon as we became aware, the flight returned to Melbourne, and we have rebooked passengers on a flight later today.”
Guardian Australia understands the airline did not communicate the change of aircraft with Indonesian authorities, and so permission to land was revoked. The plane landed back at Tullamarine airport on Wednesday morning.
Jetstar issued an apology on Wednesday and said it had launched a review into the incident.
“We know this has been an extremely frustrating experience for customers and sincerely apologise for what happened. While customers wait for their new flight, we’re providing them with hotel rooms and meal vouchers, and we’ll cover additional airport transport costs,” the spokesperson said.
“We’ve begun a review to understand how the miscommunication happened so we can prevent it from occurring again.”
Jetstar has also offered affected passengers a $200 travel voucher.
The incident comes days after a London-bound flight run by Jetstar’s parent airline, Qantas, was forced to make an emergency landing in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, with passengers stranded in the lead-up to Christmas.