Qantas finds A380 anomalies, keeps fleet grounded

SYDNEY (BestGrowthStock) – Australian airline Qantas has discovered anomalies on three Airbus A380 engines and is keeping its fleet grounded beyond an initial 48-hour deadline for further checks, Chief Executive Alan Joyce said on Monday.

A Qantas A380 engine broke apart in flight on Thursday, forcing the world’s largest passenger plane to make an emergency landing in Singapore with 459 passengers and crew on board. “On three of the engines what we found is slight anomalies — oil where oil shouldn’t be on the engines,” Joyce told ABC radio.

“We’re just trying to check what the cause of that would be. These are new engines on new aircraft and they shouldn’t have these issues at this stage, so it’s given us indication of an area for us to focus into,” Joyce said.

Thursday’s engine failure was the biggest incident to date for the A380, which went into service in 2007.

The three suspect Rolls-Royce engines from two airplanes have been removed for closer inspection and Qantas would give no deadline for the checks.

On Friday, it said it expected engine checks to take up to 48 hours but spokesman Simon Rushton on Monday said the A380 would only fly once the airline was 100 percent confident it was safe.

“We still believe with the progress we are making — this is days not weeks — but we will take as long as it needs to in order that we are absolutely comfortable the aircraft is safe to fly,” said Joyce.

Qantas shares were down 2.5 percent at A$2.79 a share on Monday, underperforming a broadly flat over market as investors weighed the costs, both in revenue and prestige, of the A380 difficulties.

On Friday, Joyce said Qantas suspected a “materials issue” or a “design issue” as the cause of the engine failure.

Rolls-Royce and Airbus parent EADS told operators of the Rolls-equipped A380 jets to have them inspected.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul and Michael Perry; editing by Balazs Koranyi)

Qantas finds A380 anomalies, keeps fleet grounded