Low Cost Airline Menace: Once Qantas Crashes Goodbye Qantas Reputation, Goodbye Qantas
Qantas is proudly Australia's national airline with the highest standards of aviation and an unsurpassed reputation for safety, quality and service.
So why jeopardise this and risk everything?
The global aviation trend is to 'low cost airlines', which allows airlines to compete on price. But aviation safety and reliability costs and is this 'bus line marketing' strategy undermining the safety and reliability of the entire air passenger industry?
To compromise costs could well cost more than just profit. Aviation is not a bus line. A 747-400 cannot just pull to the side of the road if it breaks down, and 747-400s are getting rather old and palliative.
But Qantas management strategy has over the past decade or so structurally shifted its engineering, maintenance, training from Australia to cheaper labour countries like Singaore. Has safety and reliability been impacted? Who is asking and testing this?
What responsibility or otherwise is CASA taking or will this only happen once a Qantas flight does down and public outcry?
Safety and reliability underpins Qantas and represents the basis for public trust in Qantas by the Australian and international air travelling public alike.
Qantas's promoted image of best practice and safety standards directly attracts discerning passengers preferring Qantas over other airlines. They therefore have a continuing faith and right to expect that Qantas' promoted image of best practice and safety standards will be maintained without operational compromise.
But has recent cost-saving cuts and outsourcing decisions by Qantas management set in train compromise to its promoted and renown standards of reliability and safety? Worse is could be be waiting for a disaster waiting to happen? What say the Qantas sacked Australian aeronautical engineers?
Today passengers on an international Qantas flight on a jumbo 747-400 jumbo were rocked by an exploding engine forcing Qantas to turn back to San Francisco.
This today's report:
2010, 2nd Sept.
Qantas engine blast 'like fireworks', say passengers
"Passengers on a Sydney-bound Qantas jet rocked by an exploding engine Thursday described how the plane felt like it had hit a "speed bump" and showered flames and sparks like fireworks. The Qantas Boeing 747-400 (a Jumbo) had to turn back to San Francisco about half an hour into Monday's flight after an engine failed, blasting a large hole in its casing." [Source: © 2010 AFP]
Other Recent Qantas 'incidents'
2010, 1st April
Qantas links brakes to jet tyre bursts
"A Qantas A380 superjumbo which suffered two tyre blowouts while landing at Sydney Airport has departed for Singapore after a problem with the brakes was identified.
Flight QF31 left Sydney at 6pm (AEDT) on Thursday with 450 passengers on board after it was assessed by engineers, Qantas spokesman Thomas Woodward said.
The tyre blowout is believed to have been connected to a braking problem."
[Source: © 2010 AFP]
2010, 6th April
Another engine surge incident for Qantas
"A Qantas Boeing 747-400 returned to Bangkok with one engine shut down about an hour after takeoff for London Heathrow early this morning....The original aircraft operating Qantas Flight 1 from Bangkok to London Heathrow experienced a surge in one of its four engines. The captain shut down that engine and returned to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, landing at approximately 0230 local time."
[Source: Paul Phelan , © 2010 Aviation Advertiser]
2010, 30th March
Incident: Qantas B744 near Sydney on Mar 30th 2010, engine surge
"A Qantas Boeing 747-400, registration VH-OJI performing flight QF-5 from Sydney to Singapore with 414 people on board, encountered a problem with engine #3 (RB211, inner right hand) during initial climb departing from Sydney's runway 16R prompting the crew to call "Mayday" and levelled off at 3000 feet, the crew subsequently shut the engine down, downgraded to "PAN", climbed to 10000 feet, dumped fuel over the Tasman Sea and returned to Sydney's runway 16R for a safe landing about 65 minutes after departure. The airplane taxied to the apron on its own power after emergency services checked the airplane.
Qantas reported, that the engine surged and needed to be shut down. Although the damage is still being assessed, the airline expects an engine change will be necessary."
[Source: Simon Hradecky, © 2010 The Aviation Herald]
2009, 4th November
Qantas pilots stood down over landing gear incident
"Two Qantas pilots have been stood down following an incident at Sydney Airport in which they failed to lower their plane's landing gear as it approached the runway. The incident, confirmed by the airline today, occurred on a Melbourne-Sydney flight on October 26. The plane reportedly got as low as 700 feet on its approach to the airport before the pilots realised their error and began "go around" procedures."
In a second incident, an international Jetstar flight [a Qantas subsidiary airline] experienced problems with one of its airspeed indicators - the same instrument that might have contributed to an Air France jet crash over the Atlantic, which killed 228 people in June. Jetstar flight JQ12 was carrying 200 passengers between Tokyo and the Gold Coast last Thursday when there was a momentary fluctuation in one of three airspeed indicators."
[Source: Craig Platt and Robyn Grace, © 2009 Sydney Morning Herald]
2009, 3rd June
Disaster focus on Qantas A330 incident over WA
"Overseas air safety investigators are expected to look at problems that sent a Qantas A330 on a wild ride over Western Australia last year as they attempt to solve the mystery behind this week's Air France crash.
The Qantas incident last October, and another in December last year also involving an Airbus 330 near Western Australia, involved a problem with a unit called an air data inertial reference unit, which prompted flight control computers to twice pitch down the nose of one of the jets. Fast action by the crew limited the extent of the plane's fall but 14 people were seriously injured."
[Source: Steve Creedy, Aviation writer, © 2009 The Australian]
See also: Another QANTAS incident - the price of CEO Alan Joyce's 'cost-cutting' and off-shoring maintenance