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Tuesday, 25 November 1986
Page: 2664


Senator GARETH EVANS —On 11 November Senator Sibraa asked me a question about the diversion of a Qantas aircraft from Syrian air space. In the course of my answer I said that `as a result of these manoeuvres the aircraft then made an unscheduled stop at Bahrain to take on fuel'. I have now been advised by the General Manager Operations for Qantas that this answer needs supplementation, which I now put on to the record. The flight was in fact able to continue on to Bombay without the necessity of a refuelling stop as Qantas aircraft carry additional fuel over the sectors transiting Syrian air space because of the possibility of diversion and disruption. On the occasion in question, a fire in the Bombay terminal appeared to indicate that the aircraft may have had a problem with arrival in Bombay and this was the reason for considering refuelling at Bahrain; but in the event it was not necessary to do so. So lest any air travellers be concerned that some manoeuvring around the Middle East of the kind that might be necessary from time to time will put at risk the capacity of Qantas planes to fly the distance home, I am happy to clarify the record.