Sun, Nov 28, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Qantas reintroduces A380 flights after safety checks

AFP, SYDNEY

A damaged Qantas Airbus A380 engine is removed in Singapore on Nov. 13.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Australia’s Qantas Airways resumed limited Airbus A380 superjumbo flights yesterday, three weeks after a mid-air engine blast grounded the fleet for intensive safety checks.

Chief executive Alan Joyce joined the first leg of flight QF31 to London via Singapore, which left Sydney at 5:30pm with a full load of 453 passengers.

“It’s great that we can reintroduce the aircraft,” Joyce told reporters at Sydney Airport. “We are 100 percent comfortable with the operation of the aircraft.”

Qantas suspended its six A380s, which fly long-haul routes to London and Los Angeles, after a superjumbo’s engine blew up on Nov. 4, forcing an emergency landing in Singapore.

Checks revealed problems with 16 of the total 24 Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines powering Qantas’ A380s — four per plane — meaning the turbines would have to be replaced or modified.

“The decision to restore A380 services follows an intensive Trent 900 engine inspection program carried out in close consultation with Rolls-Royce and Airbus,” the company said in a statement this week.

“Together with the engine and aircraft manufacturers and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Qantas is now satisfied that it can begin reintroducing A380s to its international network progressively.”

Only two of Qantas’s A380s will initially return to service, with the airline taking delivery of two new superjumbos before the year’s end and another two early next year.

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