Rolls-Royce engine worries continue for Qantas' A380 fleet

Written by: Anita Nair
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Sydney, Dec 9(ANI): Sydney-based Qantas Airways' headaches over its A380 fleet have been compounded after a defect was found in an engine on one of its superjumbos, which is still on the factory floor in France.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the discovery of what is believed be a faulty oil tube in one of the new plane's Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines has forced the manufacturer to change it, delaying slightly the transfer of ownership of the next superjumbo to Qantas at Airbus's plant in Toulouse.

Qantas is due to take delivery of two A380s this month, but its fleet manager has conceded in an email to pilots that "we will be lucky to see it in service by Christmas".

"One step forward and two back! We can't take a trick in getting more aircraft into the air and back into service," Qantas's fleet manager said in the email to pilots on Tuesday.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) had earlier identified the potential manufacturing defect concerning an oil tube connection to the bearing structure of the Trent 900 engines.

The problem relates to the potential for misaligned oil pipe counter-boring, which could lead to fatigue cracking, oil leakage and potential engine failure from an oil fire.

It is believed to be the cause of the dramatic engine failure onboard Qantas Airways' flight QF32 on November 4.

Flight QF32, an Airbus A380, bound for Sydney from Singapore, was carrying 433 passengers and 26 crewmembers when it ran into trouble shortly after take-off on November 4.

The double-decker plane was forced to return to Changi Airport after one of its four engines dramatically exploded mid-air over the Indonesian island of Batam.

According to a preliminary report by Airbus, turbine fragments flew out of the plane's engine when it exploded, severing cables in the wing, narrowly missing the fuel tank and taking out flight control systems during the incident.

Qantas had grounded its entire Airbus A380 fleet after the incident.

"We have decided that we will suspend all A380 takeoffs until we are fully comfortable that sufficient information has been obtained about QF32," Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce had said.

"We will suspend those A380 services until we are completely confident that Qantas safety requirements have been met," he added. (ANI)

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