Qantas welcomes back A380 after repairs

Reported by AAP
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Topics in this article:
Qantas Airways

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Qantas Airways chief executive Alan Joyce says he does not expect customers to express any concerns about flying on the Airbus A380 that was damaged after a mid-air engine explosion.

The Flying Kangaroo is set to welcome back Nancy Bird-Walton, the first A380 to enter the Qantas fleet, following 16 months of repairs costing $A139 million.

The aircraft is due to depart Singapore on Saturday night (Singapore time), and land in Sydney on Sunday morning (AEST).

Mr Joyce told reporters under the wing of the A380 aircraft at Singapore Airport on Saturday there should be no doubt in people's minds about how much work has gone into getting the aircraft back as good as new.

"We are never going to put an aircraft back in the air until Qantas is absolutely sure it's a hundred per cent safe and we are absolutely sure this is one of the safest, if not the safest aircraft going back into service," Mr Joyce said.

"In the test flights that have taken place it is performing better than a new aircraft would on delivery."

Mr Joyce said Qantas' A380 operations have proved very popular with travellers and he doubted any travellers will be reluctant to fly on Nancy Bird-Walton.

On November 4, 2010, the double-decker Qantas A380, named Nancy Bird-Walton after the Australian pioneer aviatrix, was flying over Indonesia when an engine caught fire and exploded due to what investigators said later was a faulty oil pipe.

The "uncontained engine failure" on one of the four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines sent debris flying in all directions, piercing the wing, puncturing fuel tanks and damaging some wiring and hydraulics.

Parts of the engine landed on the Indonesian island of Batam.

The pilots managed to land the plane safely back at Singapore's Changi Airport without injury to any of the 433 passengers and 26 crew.

Mr Joyce, as well as Captain Richard De Crespigny and Captain Dave Evans and 16 of the 22 cabin crew operating QF 32 on November 4, 2010 will be on the flight back to Australia.

"We talk about safety being Qantas' number one priority. The whole QF 32 story demonstrates that safety is Qantas' number one priority."

"The reason why people fly on Qantas is because of the amazing job that these guys did 18 months ago in making sure that this aircraft landed safely."

Captain De Crespigny, who will be a passenger and not in the flight deck on Saturday night, compared the Airbus A380 with the Sydney Harbour Bridge - over-engineered, over-specified and a great icon.

"I have absolute confidence in this aircraft," he said.

* The reporter travelled to Singapore courtesy of Qantas Airways.

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