United Airlines flight lands safely after mayday call

A United Airlines jet taxis as another lands at San Francisco International Airport. Louis Nastro Reuters

It's understood the pilot of a United Airlines flight reported a problem, believed to be low fuel, just after 6am on Thursday.

The global airport in Sydney was closed Thursday after an emergency call was made by a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles, officials said.

"There's an worldwide standard that requires that, once you get down to your fuel reserve in a flight, you have to declare what is called a 'fuel mayday, '" Gibson told AAP.

According to reports, passengers had no idea such a precaution was taken by the crew.

"The aircraft taxied to the gate and all customers disembarked normally", the statement said.

"What that tells air traffic control and aircraft in the area is that you need priority to come in".

The plane landed without incident about 6.30am and no passengers were at risk, an Airservices Australia spokeswoman said.

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Civil Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson said the plane had about 40 minutes of fuel remaining.

"There's an worldwide standard that requires that, once you get down to your fuel reserve in a flight, you have to declare what is called a "fuel mayday", Mr Gibson said.

Passengers who were on-board the plane told 9NEWS they were not made aware of the incident as the plane came in to land.

"Not a hint, not a mention of any impending doom or mayday situation", she said.

Another man who watched UA839 fly in from outside of the airport said the plane was followed into the terminal by emergency services.

Despite the initial panic, an Airservices Australia spokesperson explained to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that instances like this were "not unusual".

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