Friday, July 29, 2011

Will Qantas EVER get ahead of its maintenance requirements?

Qantas flight to Melbourne grounded in Hong Kong after 'safety issues'

QANTAS passengers have been left stranded in Hong Kong after a safety glitch forced the grounding of an international flight. The flight, which originated in London, was due to depart Hong Kong for Melbourne last night when the pilot informed passengers of “safety issues”, a passenger said. The passengers were told to disembark and wait in the airport for more information.

One man claimed Qantas staff said there was no accommodation available. "They told us to grab a blanket and sleep on the floor," he said.

Meanwhile, more than 300 Qantas warehouse workers will walk off the job today in a dispute about job security and wages. Workers in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia plan to stop work for 24 hours, the Herald Sun reported.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Useless !@#$%^^&* airline

Qantas engine failure sends rugby's Springboks back home

A QANTAS aircraft carrying the South African rugby team to Sydney was forced to return to Johannesburg because of an overheating engine. The pilot shut it down after it had experienced an increase in vibration and temperature.

The incident happened about an hour into the flight, with the Boeing 747 landing in Johannesburg two hours after the initial take-off.

"The aircraft has four engines and can safely fly on three engines," a Qantas spokesman said. "There was no issue with safety and media reports that there was an explosion are incorrect."

The Springboks were meant to have landed in Sydney, aboard flight QF64, shortly after 2pm (AEST) today but they are now staying at a hotel in Johannesburg as Qantas decides whether to put them on a new aircraft. "We are currently looking at options to get the aircraft back in the air as soon as possible," the spokesman said.

Springboks captain John Smit described the experience on social networking site Twitter. "Wow, just had to do an emergency landing at OR Tambo," he tweeted. "We lost an engine after take-off but safely landed now!"

The world champion Springboks, who are due to play Australia in their opening match of the Tri Nations in Sydney on July 23, are unlikely to depart for Australia before Saturday, the South African Rugby Union said in a statement.

Qantas is a sponsor of the Australian rugby union team, the Wallabies.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Jetstar plane checks 'under investigation' - Civil Aviation Safety Authority

AUSTRALIA'S aviation regulator said it had launched a review of maintenance at budget airline Jetstar, a Qantas offshoot, in the wake of another low-cost carrier being grounded.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said it was examining databases and conducting checks at Jetstar after a records mix-up resulted in some planes missing routine inspections.

The announcement follows the grounding of fellow budget airline Tiger Airways Australia until at least August 1 due to "serious and imminent" safety risks -- the first such ban of an entire carrier in Australian history.

Jetstar said it took four of its Airbus A320 jets out of service on Thursday for overdue works including "testing of batteries of emergency lights on board the aircraft, sampling of hydraulic fluid and the lubrication of door switches."

"We have robust safety and maintenance procedures in place. This is what helped us to identify some routine maintenance tasks (that needed completion) within specific time limits," a company spokesman told AFP. The planes were serviced overnight and back in operation by Friday. There were "no safety implications." "It should also be noted CASA did not order the grounding of any Jetstar aircraft," the spokesman added.

The CASA said Jetstar had immediately reported the issue and a review had been launched. "We've had a detailed briefing from them on what happened and what they've done since. We certainly don't believe there were any immediate or serious safety issues," said Peter Gibson, a spokesman for the regulator.

"But we are reviewing what Jetstar have done and we will be looking carefully at their maintenance systems, particularly their maintenance control systems, to ensure that they are robust and are operating as we would expect."

Mr Gibson said the missed inspections and procedures were "all lower-level issues" and denied there was cause for concern about safety across the budget flight industry. "I don't think anybody's jumping to that conclusion," he said. "The same safety standards apply whether you're a full-cost carrier or a low-cost carrier, we do the same types of audits, we do the same types of surveillance. "Where airlines seek to lower costs and to deliver cheaper fares the one thing they can't do is cut corners on safety."

Mr Gibson would not be drawn on whether Jetstar was facing penalties over the incident, saying only that CASA would take "any appropriate action if it's required".

Tiger, an Australian offshoot of the Singapore brand of the same name, has vowed to take all necessary steps to return to the skies and says it has a bright future, despite losing $2 million every week it is grounded.

Good ol' reliable Qantas

Absent when you need them

AUSTRALIA'S hope to claim the Microsoft Imagine Cup was literally lost in transit today. Team UCEEG from Canberra was forced to show judges their headset which turns thoughts into words sans headset after Qantas lost it, along with a wheelchair it was supposed to control.

The missing pieces will not be returned to the team until tonight, meaning the students have had to present through the first round using a video demonstration.

“The demonstration didn’t turn out well”, said Paul Du, team leader. “We did the best we could, we’re hoping for the best. “Hopefully the judges were happy with our answers.“

The team’s original headset was customised to suit their needs. Using a new one didn’t work out quite as well. “It stopped working for a while, but after the presentation is started working again,” Quang Du said.

The team still managed to converse with their mentor, Dat Tran, on MSN messenger using the improvised headset and Brain Speller software.

Thankfully the team had recorded a video demonstration to show the Brain Speller in action, and hope this will be enough to get them through to the next round.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Jetstar admits to safety oversights

They were doing only half of the required routine maintenance! That could explain a lot

QANTAS'S no-frills subsidiary, Jetstar, has come under the scrutiny of the aviation safety regulator over aircraft maintenance, adding to the sense of crisis in Australian aviation after the grounding of Tiger Airways.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority will check the rigour of Jetstar's maintenance systems and processes, after finding out planes were not fully serviced to schedule. Jetstar hurriedly pulled four Airbus A320s from service on Thursday night to attend to overlooked and overdue maintenance.

Yesterday Jetstar admitted to an "administrative issue" with its aircraft servicing. It had informed the safety regulator of its mistakes. "We have robust safety procedures in place and as part of this identified some routine maintenance tasks that should have been completed within specific time limits," a spokeswoman, Andrea Wait, said. "As soon as the administrative issue was identified it was rectified and none of the tasks were safety significant [sic]. "There was no risk to the safety of the aircraft."

The belated service items included testing emergency light batteries, sampling hydraulic fluid and lubrication of door switches, she said.

Separately, the Herald has been reliably told that there is one Jetstar Airbus on the tarmac in Christchurch that will be tested for volcanic ash contamination after a white powdery substance was found on leading edges of engine compressor fan blades.

On the maintenance front, the Herald has been told Jetstar's computer tracks aircraft components in two distinct ways: components that need servicing by flying hours, and those that need servicing by date intervals. But airline staff only realised late on Thursday afternoon that they had only been looking at the service items by flying hours, and had overlooked those by date intervals. It is not known how long this had gone on.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority will now examine Jetstar's system. "We will look carefully at what they've done and to make sure their systems are robust and operating correctly," a spokesman for the authority, Peter Gibson, said.

The vice-president of the Australian and International Pilots Association, Richard Woodward, said he hoped the lapse was "not a genuine oversight regarding engineering of an aeroplane". "We cannot afford that - the risk is too high," he said.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jetstar bans disabled child's stroller from cabin

They do so much of this sort of thing that one suspects they have a deliberate policy of discouraging the ill and disabled from travelling with them

JETSTAR has come under fire for refusing to allow a disabled two-year-old's stroller to be taken on a flight. Trudi Scott was shocked when she was told that at the gate that her son Theo’s stroller could not be carried on a New Zealand flight as there was no room, despite having explained his disability.

Theo has Down syndrome and suffers from a rare condition that can lead to renal failure.

Mrs Scott said staff promised it would be waiting for them at the gate when they got off their flight in Auckland. However the family was appalled to see a crew member carry a large bag with a musical instrument inside onto the plane and store it underneath one of the back seats.

Things only got worse for the family, with the stroller damaged in transit. On their return flight they were also banned from taking the stroller on board despite the cabin being half-full.

Mrs Scott said the way the airline handled the situation was “terrible”. "It's almost like you're having to justify your son's disability to them," she said.

A Jetstar spokeswoman said the airline has apologised for the incident, has sent them four $50 vouchers and will pay for the stroller’s repair. The airline’s policy is to not allow strollers in the cabin of any A320 planes due to the number of people who arrive with them.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

The "f*** you" airline again

In March, I waited patiently for 62 minutes for Jetstar to answer my phone call. Due to ill health, I wanted to cancel flight tickets. I was advised to obtain a medical certificate and fax itinerary details so a refund could be processed.

Three months and several faxes later, I have not even had an acknowledgment.

I had a wonderful career spanning 40 years with TAA and Qantas. Oh, for the good days of customer service, not faceless airlines with fax addresses on Mars. - Paul Smith