Passengers recalled their horror as they watched airport staff use duct tape to repair damage to the plane’s panel moments before takeoff.
Jetstar passengers traveling on JQ813 Brisbane to Sydney were alarmed as they walked the tarmac to board the Airbus A321 last Friday.
A photo shows a staff member using what looked like duct tape to cover a damaged hatch near the bottom of the plane.
Aviation experts and Jetstar have since clarified that it is aircraft-grade tape, an adhesive commonly used to perform minor repairs on aircraft capable of withstanding speeds similar to those of an airplane at reaction at various altitudes and temperatures ranging from -54°C to 149°C.
Among the worried travelers on board was Barclay McGain, a former Liberal Party member, who now works for the Institute of Public Affairs.
An airport worker using duct tape to make last-minute repairs to a Jetstar plane before takeoff raised alarm among passengers last week.
He has sworn to himself that he will only fly with the low-cost airline Rex from now on.
“Our Jetstar flight was delayed after airport staff were tasked with fixing a hole in the plane before takeoff,” Mr McGain captioned the photo.
“Perhaps if they spent more time working on the safety of their planes instead of writing the long Welcome to Country, things would be different.”
“It’s no saving grace that the eventual instant coffee I’ll need to calm my nerves will cost me an extra $3.99 (honestly, the humanity of it all).”
“I’m strongly considering marching to Sydney at this point. From now on it’s give me Rex or give me death.’
Mr McGain said that although the plane had landed safely in Sydney, he claimed nothing had been done to allay travellers’ fears.
“There was quite a bit of turbulence and people were worried,” he told the Courier Mail.
“I felt like the flight attendants didn’t have an idea, or if they did, they didn’t pass it on to us.
Jetstar has set the record straight to assure everyone that high-speed tapes pose no safety risk. Pictured is a stock image of a Jetstar aircraft
Mr McGain’s Facebook post has divided the internet.
Some flight crew members should have explained the repairs to passengers before and during the flight to ease any anxiety.
“It looks scary for the passenger and probably not very pretty for the airline,” one man commented.
One expert correctly pointed out that the ‘duct tape’ in the photo was actually aircraft-grade duct tape.
“Speed Tape has been specifically designed in the aerospace industry for a very long time to provide a very high level of thermal resistance, adhesion strength and aerodynamic compatibility. On a secondary/non-supporting cell structure, it’s more than safe,” he wrote.
“Speed tape is very commonly used in military aviation to repair light ballistic damage experienced by aircraft during combat.
“If the plane was not technically airworthy, it would have been grounded immediately.”
Former Liberal Party member Barclay McGain was among the affected passengers on board.
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Another added: “Nothing wrong with this temporary patch, speed tape is used everywhere on planes. In addition, this is a very non-critical section for the flight safety of the aircraft.
“But I can understand that people who don’t know much about airplanes are concerned.”
Jetstar has since assured that the plane is safe to fly and that all repairs have been approved by Airbus and the aviation authorities.
The airline acknowledged that pre-flight repairs could be a concern for some passengers.
“High-speed aluminum tape poses no safety risk and is used by airlines around the world to make minor temporary repairs to non-structural aircraft parts,” a spokeswoman told the Daily. MailAustralia.
“In this case, the tape was applied to a panel of one of the aircraft’s doors and was approved by Airbus, as well as aviation safety regulators.
“Our planes are always assessed by engineers before flights to ensure their safe operation.
“We are sorry to hear that these customers had a negative experience and appreciate their feedback on how we can improve our communications in these kinds of situations.”
Passengers traveling on an Airbus A321 (pictured) have claimed nothing has been done to allay their fears following pre-flight repairs