Friday, November 4, 2011

Engine drama strikes another Qantas A-380

It's impossible not to suspect rogue unionists behind at least some of these troubles

A YEAR to the day that a mid-air explosion forced a Qantas flight carrying 459 passengers to make an emergency landing, the airline suffered another A-380 PR disaster.

A Qantas A-380 flight bound for London was diverted to Dubai after suffering engine trouble.

Pilots on QF31 from Singapore to London were forced to shut down the number four engine about 90 minutes after take-off. It landed safely in Dubai and all 258 passengers onboard are safe.

Actor and comedian Stephen Fry, who flew out of Sydney yesterday after a national live tour of his TV show QI, was among those onboard.

He tweeted his annoyance soon after landing: "Bugger. Forced to land in Dubai. An engine has decided not to play."

Qantas said the plane is not the same A-380 that made an emergency landing in Singapore on November 4 last year.

An explosion tore through that aircraft's second engine shortly after take-off and rained debris on a shopping centre in the downtown area of the Indonesian island of Batam.

A spokeswoman for the airline said the timing of the incident was unfortunate.

“It’s definitely unfortunate that this occurred on the same day as QF32 and after the industrial action,” she said.

There are currently ten A-380s in the Qantas fleet.

Qantas said the jet had not had any other engine problems.

The mid-air drama came as Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce was grilled by senators over his handling of the airline's industrial dispute, which has at its heart the safety and maintenance of Qantas planes.