Thursday, November 18, 2010

New engines for Qantas superjumbos

ABOUT 40 Rolls-Royce engines on the world's A380 fleet will need to be replaced, Qantas chief says. This would represent about half of all Rolls-Royce engines on A380 planes that are currently in service.

Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said the move was to ensure safety after one of the airline's engines broke apart mid-flight earlier this month, Reuters reports. Mr Joyce said the airline is in talks with Airbus to replace some of its existing Rolls-Royce engines with new engines from planes still in production on the Airbus assembly line.

"We've been talking to Airbus and Rolls-Royce and we understand that the number (of engines to be replaced) is around 40," Mr Joyce said. "We've already replaced three and there could be more."

Qantas has been plagued with issues since grounding its fleet of Airbus A380s after an engine explosion on November 4 forced an emergency landing in Singapore.

Yesterday one of the airline's Boeing 747 planes bound for Sydney was forced to turn back to Johannesburg after one of its engines suffered a bird strike.

On Tuesday one of Qantas' smaller Boeing 717s was hit by lightning on a regional flight between the destinations of Alice Springs and Darwin hours earlier, causing "minor damage" to the exterior.

The incidents follow the return to Sydney of a Qantas Boeing 747 bound for Buenos Aires on Monday after it suffered an electrical fault which caused smoke to pour into the cockpit.

Qantas refuses to confirm reports its A380 fleet will not return to operation until next month.

Both Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa have inspected the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines on their A380 fleet and have returned the planes to service.


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