Plane left on Christchurch Airport tarmac after quarantine 'misunderstanding'

A plane with Qantas livery.
Photo credit: Getty

Qantas has apologised to passengers after a misunderstanding saw them held for two hours in Christchurch on Saturday night.

Flight QF139 from Sydney was quarantined at about 11pm due to a sick child on-board. Two St John ambulances attended the flight, and one passenger was taken to hospital in a moderate condition.

The stranded plane was a 737-800, which can carry up to 189 passengers. In a statement, Qantas called the incident a misunderstanding.

"On arrival into Christchurch from Sydney last night, our customers were delayed in disembarking the aircraft after a health check had been requested for a traveller," a spokesperson said.

"As a precaution, the aircraft was temporarily quarantined, although this wasn't required.

"Following this misunderstanding, we've apologised to our customers for the inconvenience as we worked to help them disembark as quickly as possible."

A spokesperson for Christchurch Airport says all correct procedures were followed.

Stuff reports neither the airline or the airport were able to give any further details of the child's illness such as symptoms, how the decision was made to allow passengers off, if there would be follow up medical screenings or where the child had come from.


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