Qantas diverts flight to Dubai over engine problem

AP News
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Posted: Nov 04, 2011 2:11 AM
Qantas diverts flight to Dubai over engine problem

A Qantas Airways flight diverted to Dubai landed safely Friday after an oil problem forced the shutdown of one of the superjumbo jet's four engines.

The flight crew shut down the A380's engine after noticing a problem with its oil quantity, Qantas spokeswoman Olivia Wirth said. Flight QF31, heading from Singapore to London, landed safely, and none of the 258 passengers or 25 crew was hurt.

Exactly a year ago, another Qantas A380 had a midair engine explosion after takeoff from Singapore.

In that case, a defective engine pipe leaked oil, sparking a fire that destroyed a turbine disc and sent pieces of the disc into the plane's wing, an Australian safety report said. A380s around the world were grounded so engine maker Rolls-Royce could replace the part.

Wirth said the anniversary was a coincidence and the events were unrelated.

"This is a one-off incident," Wirth said of Friday's engine problem. "Obviously, it will be a priority of ours to work out what the particular problem is in this engine."

Engineers were inspecting the plane in Dubai, and it was not expected to be back in the air on Friday, Qantas said. The airline was booking passengers onto alternate flights to London.

It has been a rough few months for Qantas. Last weekend, the airline grounded its entire fleet and threatened to lock out unions that had been staging months of strikes. The move stranded thousands of passengers around the world and enraged government officials, who ordered an emergency court hearing. On Monday, the court ordered the airline to end the lockout and ordered the unions to halt their strikes. Flights were back to normal by Tuesday.

On Wednesday, officials said police were investigating the suspected sabotage of the entertainment system on a Qantas plane. Qantas said engineers noticed several wires were cut on the plane's in-flight entertainment system on Oct. 26, the height of the labor dispute.

The engineers' union said it was unlikely the plane was sabotaged because of the union's dispute with the airline.