Sunday, October 31, 2010

Crook seats on QANTAS

On my recent travel to the US I used my Qantas frequent flyer points to upgrade from premium economy to business class. The cabin service was outstanding, I suspect to cover the poor state of the seating on the 747. My seat was so bad I would have rather gone back to premium economy. The seat frame struts and support bars could be felt through the wafer-thin padding and the state of the seats was shabby at best.

I would like to point out as a regular traveller to the US and being 206 centimetres tall, I have tried several other airlines in recent times (Jetstar via Hawaii, V Australia and Delta) with great seats but ''so-so'' crew.

While I'm sure the seats on the A380 are better, Qantas don't forget you still have 747s: please improve/maintain them.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

QANTAS plane cockpit locks 'can be opened by Paddle Pop stick'

I am putting this up in case there is something in it. It would need independent verification before acceptance

Qantas is putting passenger and pilot safety at risk with cockpit locks that can be opened with an ice-cream stick or a rolled-up boarding pass, an engineers' group says. Sunstate Airlines, a subsidiary of Qantas, is operating more than 20 aircraft with the unsecure locks, the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association says.

But Qantas group spokesman David Epstein said the claims were not about safety and the association had a much broader agenda.

The ALAEA's federal secretary, Stephen Purvinas, said the aircraft are flying in breach of the transport regulations because the locks are easily opened with a "Paddle Pop stick" and not fully bulletproof. "Management are aware of the problem, have provided no solution and the aircraft continue to fly in breach of the Department of Transport regulations," Mr Purvinas said in a statement.

"QantasLink opted for cheaper versions of doors that are required to be bulletproof and, on the larger aircraft they fly, resistant to grenade shrapnel. "These doors are compromised by locks which are not fully bulletproof." He said the association was calling on the aircraft to be grounded immediately until the airline is able to comply with the legislation.

Mr Epstein said the complaints are "a well-worn tactic of the ALAEA's federal secretary Steve Purvinas when enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations are not going his way".

"Safety and security are our highest priorities and the cockpit doors on 28 QantasLink turboprop aircraft meet all relevant aviation security regulatory and manufacturer requirements," Mr Epstein said. "This has been validated after consultation with the Office of Transport Security and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. "Yet Mr Purvinas is still prepared to raise his spurious claims, needlessly alarming the travelling public and damaging Qantas."

Mr Epstein said Qantas and QantasLink continually review security measures. "There is no need to for any aircraft to be grounded, and the travelling public can fly on QantasLink services with complete confidence," he said.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Exploding Qantas engine turbines broke up

Air safety investigators have found extensive turbine damage in the jet engine that exploded on a Qantas jumbo at 25,000 feet near San Francisco in August.

Engine parts that were flung outwards tore not only a gaping hole on the far side of the engine cover but also peppered the near-side with holes, air safety investigators have revealed.

As the engine vibrated, debris ejected through the engine hole hit the underside of the wing, puncturing the wing flaps, investigators have found.

Despite passengers reporting seeing flames and sparks shooting from the engine, investigators say there were no indications of an engine fire. There was no damage to the plane's body.

All of the engine's turbine blades had either fractured or broken away, investigators said. There was also damage of other engine internals including vanes, bearings, speed probes and a turbine shaft.

Further testing of engine components will be undertaken by Rolls-Royce, overseen by UK air safety investigators. The Rolls-Royce RB211-524 engine was removed from the aircraft and taken to Hong Kong for examination. It was last overhauled in May 2009 and had accumulated 5000 flying hours since then. Investigators will further review the engine's maintenance records.

The findings are contained in a preliminary report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) into the explosion on flight QF74, carrying 213 passengers and 18 crew, on August 30. The incident occurred 15 minutes after take-off.

The pilots shut down the engine, sought landing clearance, dumped fuel and landed safely at San Francisco, where the plane was met by fire crew, inspected and allowed to taxi to the terminal.

"This was an exceptionally rare event and the first time Qantas has experienced this type of engine failure," a Qantas spokesman said. "The information contained in the report accords with our own investigation and initial conclusion that the turbine failure was the cause. "We continue to work with the ATSB and Rolls-Royce on their investigations," the spokesman said.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another triumph for QANTAS maintenance

Witness tells of smoke and tears in Jetstar engine drama

Jetstar has denied claims that flames were seen coming from an engine of one of its aircraft in a incident that one witness says left flight attendants in tears. The airline's Christchurch to Sydney flight - JQ150 - was forced to land with just one engine about 4.30pm yesterday, but a Jetstar spokeswoman said pilots remained in total control of the Airbus A320. No one was injured, the spokeswoman said.

New Zealander Amanda Tottle, of Christchurch, was one of the 118 passengers on board. She said nearby passengers reported flames and dark smoke coming from one of the engines. Ms Tottle, who was sitting near the damaged engine, said the incident started "with a big loud bang", which shook the aircraft. "We were happily sitting there and suddenly there was this big loud bang and the guy sitting in front of me called over the stewardess and said there was flames and black smoke coming from the engine," she said.

Ms Tottle said the flight attendant then told the pilot. "We had the stewardesses continually running across to look at the engine and asking people what they saw but we really didn't have any other information at the time," she said. "Some of the stewardesses were up the back in tears and kept moving past passengers to look at the engines ... and I think that worried some people."

A Jetstar spokesman denied the engine was on fire but said it was possible it produced dark smoke. "Our understanding is that there was no fire coming out of the engines," he said. "It is my understanding you may have spoken to someone who has seen smoke and there could have been. "An engine was shut down ... and there could well have been smoke but you and me weren't up there so we don't know."

The spokesman said pilots shut down the engine just out of Sydney and told air traffic staff of the situation. Fire crews were on standby when the jet landed.

"I can confirm that from reports from the captain ... that a thorough explanation was provided [to passengers] on what occurred and ... that was well received as it was coolly done and very professionally handled," he said. The spokesman said he could not comment on whether any of aircraft's staff were in tears.

Ms Tottle said it took pilots about 30 minutes to tell passengers of the situation. "About half an hour after the big bang the pilot said you may be aware of an earlier incident and that they had lost one engine but the plane can fly with just one engine," she said.

"We then circled the airport about three or four times ... and when we landed, which was [a] really heavy [landing], there were fire crews everywhere. But never were we told what was really going on."

The spokesman said the airline "has the most modern jet fleet in Australia and will thoroughly investigate" what caused the engine to malfunction. "It should take some time as to reasons why the engine malfunctioned ... but we are working with the manufacturers."

The aircraft did not carry out any further journeys yesterday, the spokesman said.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jetstar employee charged over check-in assault

The "f*ck you" airline again

Police have arrested and charged a Jetstar representative with assaulting New Zealand radio host Iain Stables. Shock jock Stables was left concussed following a scuffle with a check-in counter employee at Auckland Airport on Saturday, meaning he was unable to begin a new job at Radio Hauraki this week.

A spokeswoman for Counties Manukau police said a man, who represents Jetstar, had been arrested and would appear in the Manukau District Court on Friday.

Stables was set to begin a new job at Radio Hauraki yesterday, but instead spent the day nursing injuries. He said he arrived at the Jetstar counter three minutes after the airline's strict half-hour check-in time closed and was told by a male employee he could not fly. "I said: 'Mate, come on, don't you have any discretion here?' He said: 'If you want that, why don't you f... off to Air New Zealand?'"

Stables said he then told the man he was "a loser and you work for a loser airline".

He claimed that, as he turned away, the man punched him in the back of the head, before vaulting over the counter, punching him several more times, pushing him to the ground and kicking him in the back. The pair were separated by airport security.

Stables later travelled to Wellington, where he was treated for concussion, bruising and cuts. He intended to file a civil claim against Jetstar. "I know I can push things at times, but I don't expect someone to jump over a counter and attack me."

Stables said claims that he had thrown something at the employee were not true. Counties Manukau police did not return calls yesterday but Jetstar confirmed in a statement that police were investigating.

The counter staff member was not a direct employee of Jetstar but of Skycare, a contracted firm. Skycare had stood the man down and was conducting its own investigation, which Jetstar was supporting, the statement said.

Air New Zealand was quick to seize on the incident, placing internet adverts that urged customers to "get flights, not into fights".