Qantas’ woes continue, jet returns to Sydney

Monday, November 15, 2010

SYDNEY - Australia’s Qantas airlines was hit by another problem Monday when a jumbo jet bound for Argentina was forced to return to Sydney after smoke came out from the cockpit’s electrical system. This is the airline’s fourth such incident this month.

The flight QF17 - with 199 passengers and 21 flight crew on board - landed safely at Sydney airport, about two hours after it departed for Buenos Aires, Australian news agency AAP reported.

A report by New Zealand’s Newstalk ZB radio station said the plane was dumping fuel mid-air.

Teague Czislowski, a lawyer, said fellow passengers became concerned when they noticed fuel coming out of the wings.

“About an hour into the flight, we suddenly did a 180-degree turn and you could see the wing section and while it looked like there was smoke coming out of it, it was actually the fuel dump taking place,” he was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The first thing you noticed was then the electrics going out. There was no lights, no entertainment, only the emergency panels were on.”

Czislowski said the latest Qantas mishap “is a disgrace”. “This is just another Qantas f*** up - that is what the QF probably stands for.”

The incident was reported to civil aviation authorities and engineers were inspecting the aircraft to determine the cause of the problem.

Qantas, however, said media reports that the Boeing 747 lost pressure in the main cabin were incorrect. Oxygen supply to the cabin was unaffected, it said.

Monday’s problem added to the woes of the airlines, which has seen its planes affected by engine troubles.

On Nov 4, the airline was forced to ground its A380 fleet after an explosion tore apart the superjumbo’s Rolls-Royce engine over the Indonesian island of Batam.

Two days later, Nov 6, a Boeing 747 plane suffered an engine failure flying out of Singapore and was forced to turn back.

On Saturday, a Qantas Boeing 767 carrying 234 passengers to Melbourne was forced to turn back to Perth, after the flight crew noticed a problem with the engine.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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