DUBAI // Emirates Airline could be fined more than A$1 million for allegedly breaching a flight curfew at an Australian airport on three occasions.
According to local media, Australian government officials are investigating the breaches of the rules at Sydney Airport, and they are confident of successful prosecutions for two of the incidents. Each breach comes with a maximum fine of A$550,000 (Dh2.1m), said an official from the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport.
Complaints about noise led to the curfew being introduced in 1995 to prevent aircraft from landing and taking off from the airport between 11pm and 6am.
It is alleged that Emirates flight EK413 from Sydney to Dubai took off well after 11pm on January 8 despite being refused permission by air traffic control "many times during the day" to do so.
Permission was refused on grounds that the carrier had been given enough warning that the flight would not be able to depart. It is alleged the flight departed without permission after 11.15pm.
Emirates is believed to have given a detailed response to the allegations. The next stage of the procedure is for the Australian government to provide a brief to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will then decide whether to prosecute.
In a statement, Emirates said flight EK413 on January 8 had been delayed due to fuel delivery problems caused by a thunderstorm that evening.
"A decision was made to continue with operation of the flight to limit the inconvenience to passengers," the airline said.
"Only on rare occasions such as this does the airline seek dispensations, and when doing so follows the normal process."
The last time an airline was charged with breaching the curfew was in 2007.