Armed federal police escorted weary Qantas passengers through security at Melbourne airport on Wednesday night after their flight was deemed “unscreened” following a security mishap in Sydney.
Qantas flight QF487 from Sydney to Melbourne landed at 9.01pm, when the captain then informed hundreds of passengers that security officials would take them through the airport after a person boarded without completing airport security in Sydney.
A Qantas spokesperson said a passenger boarded the flight after inadvertently passing from an ‘unscreened’ to a ‘screened’ part of Sydney airport.
“As a precaution, all passengers on QF487 were escorted from the aircraft when it landed in Melbourne and taken through the screened part of the airport into the unscreened area – thereby avoiding compromising the secure section of the Melbourne terminal, which would have required all passengers who had already been through security to be rescreened,” the spokesperson said.
“We will investigate to understand how this incident occurred and we apologise for any inconvenience to passengers on the flight.”
Flight passenger and Australian Financial Review Melbourne bureau chief Patrick Durkin said the experience was “confusing and a little bit mystifying” for passengers on the Qantas Airbus A330.
“Everyone was talking and asking how someone can get through unscreened. I was chatting to a Qantas guy who said that it may have been someone taking a wrong turn at [Sydney] airport. I don’t know how that happened. Or how it’s possible,” Durkin said.
Durkin said the captain told passengers to remain in their seats following an arrival gate change, with all on board the flight then told to follow security officials and not to stop for toilet breaks.
He added that passengers were not forced to unpack their belongings or take their laptops out for inspection, and instead underwent a “walk-through” screening process.
“It wasn’t too painful in the end. We were probably off within 20 to 30 minutes to be honest,” Durkin said.
Sydney Airport, Melbourne Airport and the Australian Federal Police have been contacted for comment.
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