This morning QANTAS Airways, Australia's iconic national carrier and leading international airline, experienced a disturbing mid-flight incident when one of its massive 500-odd seat Airbus A380-800 aircraft had an engine failure and a section of engine cover fell off. Apparently the number two (inner) engine failed on it's left wing and had to be shut down.
The QANTAS international flight QF32 from London to Sydney after scheduled refuelling at Singapore Changi Airport turned back to Singapore and made an emergency landing.
[Source: 'QANTAS: Plane engine malfunctions, No crash' by Christine Jared-Perrin (Reuters) 4th November 2010 12:24 PM AEST].
But full praise to the professional emergency response by QANTAS deck and flight crews to see the massive plane and all aboard safely landed without injury!
Number two engine of a total of four Rolls Royce engines was reported as having suffered an explosion and losing its rear housing while at high altitude over the Indonesian island of Batam, only six minutes after taking off from Singapore.
While QANTAS Airlines chief executive Alan Joyce has suspended all of its A380 aircraft services due to the incident, Lufthansa, Emirates, Air France and Singapore Airlines HAVE NOT grounded their fleet of Airbus A380 jets. Why? What makes them so confident with their same A380s and Rolls Royce Trent 900 turbine engines to continue business as usual?
Such response by other carriers means that the problem was not an Airbus manufacturing cause, but a QANTAS maintenance failure. The aircraft had just flown from London without reported incident, so what happened to the engine at Singapore? Were adequate safety checks performed on the engines? Had their been an ingestion of debris to cause the turbine to fail? But the erupting Mt. Merapi volcano is a thousand kilometres south of Singapore.
Was it a compressor surge in the engine turbine? Was there any record of high exhaust gas temperature, low engine pressure ratio, low rotor RPM , oil or fuel filter problems or high oil temperature. If so, does any of this consequential of substandard maintenance?
How transparent will the findings be?
QANTAS has a recent history of airline maintenance problems and consequential operational incidents. Engine failures are becoming all to common at QANTAS.
Corrosion mid-flight incident in 2008
Refer to the article on CanDoBetter.org website 'Low Cost Airline Menace: Once Qantas Crashes Goodbye Qantas Reputation, Goodbye Qantas' of 2nd September this year.
Back in 2008, QANTAS workers complained publicly over what they observed as deteriorating standards in QANTAS' aircraft maintenance as a direct result of QANTAS management policy to cost cutting by laying off maintenance staff and off-shoring the work to cheap inferior overseas labour.
According to an article by the the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) on 10th September 2008:
Cheap maintenance will catch up with QANTAS and beckon its tragic ruin. Low-cost carriers and high altitude don't mix. CEO Alan Joyce's perpetuating policy of cheap maintenance is not an ethical competitive strategy for a trusted public airline, it is a deceptive public time bomb.
I don't fly QANTAS, it's not safe!
Recent Background on QANTAS Maintenance Record
2010: New South Wales Parliamentary Speech by Paul Gibson, NSW Legislative Assembly 22 April 2010 - 'QANTAS MAINTENANCE AND SAFETY' [NSW Hansard Page: 22213]
2009: 'Qantas workers cop longer hours to keep jobs' (by Daniel Hurst, Brisbane Times, 11th May, 2009)
2008: 'Qantas rebuked over maintenance problems', (by Mathew Murphy, The Age, 2nd September 2008)
2007: 'Qantas hits new turbulence over cheap aircraft maintenance' by Thomas Hunter on Crikey, 18th January 2007.
2005: 'Qantas move offshore might cost 2500 jobs' (by Scott Rochfort and Nick O'Malley, Sydney Morning Herald, 22nd October 2005)
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