Engine Failure Prompts A380 Groundings

 - November 4, 2010, 6:33 AM

A Qantas Airbus A380 on its way to Sydney from Singapore this morning experienced an uncontained engine failure soon after takeoff, forcing the airplane to return to Singapore and prompting Qantas to ground its entire fleet of six A380s. The aircraft, operating as Flight QF32, carried 440 passengers and 26 crewmembers, none of whom sustained injuries. 

The aircraft landed safely at 11:45 a.m. local time after receiving priority clearance for its return to Singapore. The engine trouble reportedly occurred six minutes into the flight, over the Indonesian island of Batam.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the airline would suspend A380 services “until we are confident that Qantas safety requirements have been met.”

Meanwhile, fellow A380 operator Singapore Airlines has delayed all flights scheduled for its 11 superjumbos after Rolls-Royce and Airbus advised it to conduct precautionary technical checks. SIA’s A380s use the same Rolls-Royce Trent 900 turbofans that power Qantas’s fleet.

Qantas said it would accommodate affected passengers on alternative flights and provide regular updates.