Your airline is a low cost carrier and operates a narrow bodied jet fleet in an Australian domestic network. On a scheduled flight today, a controlled departure program (METRON) is operating at the departure port. On request to the tower for a departure clearance, the flight crew are advised to remain at their departure gate for another 20 minutes. The flight crew have each completed 10 hours of duty so far this day.
Prior to departure, the rear flight attendant seat (2 person, fold down) retract mechanism has been reported as faulty. The aircraft MEL only requires that a flight attendant seat must be fitted and that the flight attendant restraint harnesses must be operational. Your Maintenance Control (MAINTROL) staff have advised contracted ground engineers to apply the MEL for the seat harness and record in the aircraft Technical Log. The Captain subsequently signs the Tech Log. Following departure, an alert message appears to the flight crew indicating a fault with the First Officers Air Speed Indicator (ASI). There is no engineering coverage at the destination but the MEL indicates one ASI may be inoperative for operation. About an hour into the flight, a male passenger (seated in one of the emergency exit rows) queries one of the flight attendants in broken English as to why the flight is taking so long as he expected the flight should have reached the destination. It transpires that he has accidentally boarded the wrong flight. On arrival in the destinations terminal area, ATC advise 10 minutes holding is required for traffic.
The destination airport has only one runway and aerodrome works are in progress. On landing, a longer taxi route is required due to the works, and there is other traffic present. From a planned block time of 1.45, the actual block time is 2.25. Due to the lost time, the Captain is keen to have a quick turnaround. The refueller commences fuelling shortly after the aircraft arrives on the bay. The Captain requests the First Officer to complete the Load and Trim sheet while he completes the aircraft preflight exterior inspection. Passengers are boarding and the no smoking and fasten seat belt signs are illuminated as usual. During his inspection, the Captain notices that the refueller has just finished fuelling. The Captain signs and retains a copy of the fuel docket. Meanwhile, the contract ground handler is loading baggage and freight. Two barrows of
freight are to be loaded into the forward hold. While most packages appear to have labelling, the senior loader cant seem to locate the summary list of the freight items. Also, two of the packages appear to have been damaged. While baggage is being loaded in the rear hold, 5 additional bags are also presented to loaders as being too big to fit in the aircraft cabin.
Discuss the regulatory and operational aspects of the above scenario.