RAAF Base Tindal scrambled two F-35A jets this morning to intercept a Airnorth flight after suspicions were raised about an unusual flight pattern when it departed Darwin airport on time.
The air force deployed the F-35A Lightning II multirole fighter jets in response to worrying reports from passengers that the flight had not been cancelled or delayed as is generally expected and that they were not given sufficient time to stock up on cheeseburgers for friends and family back in Gove.
Passengers are currently being transferred back to Darwin by coach where they will be booked into a hotel overnight before continuing their journey back to Gove.
Jim Cook, who booked the Airnorth flight in the hope of scoring a free overnight stay, said: “There was a state of utter panic on the plane when it departed without delays or cancellation.”
“We’d all booked it thinking we’d get a free meal or even a free overnight stay out of them.”
“So when it took off on time we just assumed it must have been hijacked.”
Airnorth has been hit with a series of cancellations following an administration oversight: the firm recently found out that they needed to pay people to fly their aircraft and maintain their fleet, which hadn’t been factored into their recruitment plans. It has also been suggested that the exorbitant cost of flights, resulting in a decline in non-wealthy passengers, might be a contributory factor.
Beleaguered Airnorth CEO Daniella Bowlden thanked the RAAF pilots for their speedy response before asking if they could take a hundred passengers each to Cairns.