Qantas has grounded its entire fleet of A380 Airbuses after an aircraft carrying more than 400 people was forced to make an emergency landing when part of one of its engines disintegrated over Indonesia.
The flight, which originated in London as QF32 and was destined for Sydney, was abandoned 15 minutes after take-off from Singapore when passengers heard a loud bang and saw smoke and sparks coming out of one engine.
The pilot then informed the cabin that the engine had been shut down and the aircraft was heading back to Changi Airport. The A380, carrying 433 passengers and 26 crew, circled for an hour dumping fuel before it landed safely at Changi at 11.45am local time.
Once on the tarmac, it appeared that casing from the aircraft's number two engine was missing and parts of the aircraft's underside were blackened.
The incident prompted Qantas to ground its all six of its A380s, the airline's flagship model, which are also flown by Air France, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa.
There have been no fatal incidents involving A380s since they were launched as the greenest, quietest – as well as the biggest – jetliner in the world. However, earlier this year one of the planes operated by Qantas burst two tyres when landing in Sydney, and in September 2009 an A380 was forced to turn around in mid-flight and return to Paris.
There was initial confusion after early reports said that the A380 Airbus had crashed in a western Indonesian town. Witnesses said that they had heard a loud explosion as a Qantas aircraft flew overhead and pieces of fuselage were found on the ground. Pictures of metal, some the size of a door bearing the red and white of the "flying kangaroo" logo, flashed on MetroTV, with people milling around.
However, the Australian national carrier quickly denied that any of its planes had crashed, saying that QF32 had suffered engine problems and had been forced to turn around.
Qantas has never had a fatal jetliner accident in its 90-year history. The other operators of the A380 aircraft say they had no plans to ground the aircraft but that it would do so if advised of any concerns by the manufacturer.
An Airbus spokesman said the company would assist Singaporean authorities with their investigation.
See the official media release by Qantas --- > http://www.qantas.com.au/reg...
1 Darryl Morrell
(4. 11. 2010, 12:35 CET)
This could be a disaster for RR following the recent problems with the failure of the 787 engine