On 15 October 2013, at about 0410 Eastern Daylight-savings Time (EDT), the flight plan for a Qantas Airways Airbus A330 aircraft, registered VH-QPD, was automatically generated and released by the dispatcher at about 0420. The flight was scheduled to depart Sydney, New South Wales at 0600 on a passenger service to Perth, Western Australia. At about 0430, the captain of QF 565 downloaded the weather package and flight plan onto his iPad.
At about 0440, the company meteorologist advised the dispatcher that a new terminal aerodrome forecast (TAF) had been issued for Perth, which required QF 565 to have an alternate destination due to forecast fog and the dispatcher produced a new flight plan for the flight.
The crew arrived at the airport before 0500. The FO downloaded the flight plan and weather (briefing package) at about 0504. The flight plan downloaded by the FO was the original flight plan, despite dispatch having released the new plan prior to this time.
The crew reviewed the information and noted that there were no weather requirements for Perth and that they both had the same flight plan. The captain noted that their initial cruising altitude was flight level (FL) 320. The crew completed the briefing and requested 32.1 tonnes of fuel be uploaded and the flight departed at about 0600. When at the top of climb, the captain retrieved the deck log and noticed that the initial flight level on the log was different to the initial planned level and a departure fuel of 45 tonnes on the log and realised that they were using the original, incorrect, flight plan data. Due to improving weather at the Perth, the flight was able to continue to the destination.
As a result of this occurrence, the aircraft operator has highlighted the occurrence to the dispatch team and issued an Internal Notice to Airmen (INTAM) to the flight crews to ensure they are in receipt of the latest flight plan data before flight.
This incident highlights the importance of ensuring vital information is relayed to crews in a timely manner.