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Qantas airline safety investigated

[August 13th 2008]

Australian airline Qantas has grounded six Boeing 737 planes while it checks maintenance records as the Australian Civil Safety Authority continues to investigate the airline’s safety procedures.

Last month the oxygen tank of one of Qantas’ Boeing 747s exploded in mid air on a flight from Heathrow to Melbourne forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Manila in the Philippines. A week later another Qantas plane had to make an emergency landing in Adelaide after a problem with the landing gear, and then a Boeing 767 was forced to return to Sydney airport shortly after take off because fluid was flowing from a wing.

The grounding of the 737s has been prompted while Qantas checks to see whether maintenance has been carried out. "Qantas discovered an irregularity with paperwork for these aircraft during an internal integrity check of maintenance records," explains executive general manager of Qantas Engineering, David Cox.

"In line with our prudent response to any maintenance issue, however minor, we have elected to suspend the operation of the six aircraft while we ensure all our records are 100 per cent accurate and we have advised the Civil Aviation Safety Authority,” Cox continues.

As a result of the grounding of the planes, Qantas cancelled three flights last night, but says all the passengers affected were put on flights within two hours of their original departure time.

In happier news for the airline, Qantas says it will take delivery of its first Airbus A380 superjumbo at a ceremony at the Airbus factory in Toulouse on September 19th. The double decker plane will then fly on to Sydney airport, where it will land on 21st September.

Qantas will operate its first A380 commercial passenger service from Melbourne to Los Angeles on October 20th, followed by the first Sydney to Los Angeles flight on October 24th.

The Australian airline has 20 A380s on order, and expects to receive three by the end of this year. One A380 will be used on flights from Sydney to London Heathrow via Singapore from early 2009.

Written by: Nick Purdom

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