After all clear, Qantas to resume A380 flights to US

January 12th, 2011 - 2:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 12 (IANS) Australian carrier Qantas Airways will resume its Airbus A380 flights on the US route from Jan 16, after receiving the all-clear from safety regulators, the airline has said.Qantas said Tuesday that after “extensive engineering analysis and close consultation” with Rolls-Royce, Airbus and European and Australian safety regulators, the parties were “now satisfied that it is appropriate for Qantas to resume A380 flying on the Los Angeles-Australia routes”, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Wednesday.

Qantas grounded its A380 fleet after a Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine exploded in mid-air on flight QF32 over Indonesia’s Batam Island Nov 4 last year, severely damaging the aircraft and imperilling the lives of 469 people on board.

The technical woes still beset the engine maker, Rolls-Royce. An updated directive from the European Aviation Safety Agency warns of cracks in a vital component of other versions of Rolls-Royce’s Trent passenger airliner engines.

The safety regulator warns that cracks found on the compressor rotor shaft in three engines could lead to an uncontained engine explosion, a warning affecting Trent 500, 700 and 800 engines, fitted mainly to Airbus A340s, A330s and Boeing 777s, respectively.

After the QF32 explosion, Rolls-Royce advised that the Trent 900 engines should not be used to maximum thrust, limiting Qantas’s A380s return to service.

“Only when we, our manufacturers and our regulators were completely satisfied that it was safe to begin flying the aircraft again did we resume A380 services, initially on London routes only,” Qantas’s chief executive Alan Joyce said.

“The decision not to operate Los Angeles services allowed us to gain further operational experience before deploying the A380 on these routes,” he said.

“In close consultation with Rolls-Royce, we are now confident that we can begin flying the A380 to and from Los Angeles without any conditions on the use of maximum engine thrust,” he added.

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