After one of its stellar Airbus A380 fleet suffered a midair engine failure on Thursday, Qantas, Australia’s national airline, announced its suspension of their famous twin-deck planes indefinitely.
According to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, the company is launching an internal probe into Thursday’s incident and the suspension will remain until investigation is complete. “As long as it takes. We are being very cautious until we know exactly what caused this,” said Joyce when a reporter inquired about how long the suspension would last. ”
The engine failure happened six minutes after the plane took off from Sinagpore’s Changi Airport. One of the four engines closed down and part of the plane’s cowling tore off. The plane, carrying 440 passengers and 26 crew members, was to arrive at Sydney, Australia, but the engine collapse made the pilot recourse back to Changi.
Joyce did not elaborate on the incident much and told reporters:
“I am not sure what actually happened with the debris and why parts of the engine left the aircraft and fell into the ground,” . “We’re still looking at what exactly was the cause of that.”
According to reports, the pilot gave real time update of the plane’s status during the flight:
“I do apologize. I’m sure you are aware we have a technical issue with our number two engine. We have dealt with the situation, the aircraft is secure at this stage. We’re going to have to hold for some time whilst we do lighten our load by dumping some fuel and a number of checklist [items] we have to perform. “I’m sure you are aware we are not proceeding to Sydney at this stage. We’re making a left turn now to track back toward Singapore and as we progress with this we’ll keep you informed, but at this stage everything is secure, the aircraft is flying safely and we’ll get back to you very shortly with further information. Thank you for your patience.”
Fortunately, the flight — QF32 — landed Changi safely. None of the passenger or crew were injured.
Passenger Ulf Waschbusch told CNN that the crew managed to keep the passengers calm. Fellow passenger Meg Graham said she heard a loud bang as soon as the plane took off.
Meanwhile, Qantas announced that it will team up with Airbus A380 manufacturer as well as Rolls-Royce, the maker of the engine, to find the cause of accident. A spokesman for the Rolls-Royce told CNN that they are more than willing to cooperate. “Safety is always our highest priority. We are currently analyzing the available information and working with our customers to support their operations,” said the spokesperson.
Two Airlines has followed suit after the Qantas incident. Singapore Airlines announced Thursday that they will temporarily cancel flights of its 11 Airbus A380s to do precautionary safety checks. Lufthansa, which owns three Airbus A380s is also planning to carry out additional precautionary checks on the engines of the planes.
Airbus 380 is the largest passenger airliner in the world. It is manufactured by the European corporation Airbus. The plane is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine airliner.