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Qantas rejigs schedule over A380 trouble

Qantas rejigged its international schedule after grounding its A380 superjumbos over an engine blow-out, but gave no word on when the troubled planes would resume service as checks continue.


The announcement came a week after a mid-air blast prompted both Qantas and Singapore Airlines to halt use of the flagship craft for urgent safety checks of their Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines.

“The new forward schedule enables Qantas to accommodate customers on services across its entire international network over the coming weeks, regardless of when A380 aircraft re-enter service,” a statement said.

Qantas extended the grounding of its Airbus A380 fleet for at least three extra days Monday after extensive checks found oil leaks in some engines, following the engine failure by a Sydney-bound plane flying out of Singapore.

The flagship carrier said it had redrafted its schedule as a precaution while an “intensive inspection programme” continued of the Rolls Royce engines on its fleet of six A380s, the world’s largest passenger plane.

“Qantas engineers have removed three engines to undertake further examination,” the airline said.

“Engineers have been investigating the engines in detail and how their components and design perform under operational conditions, as opposed to the original out-of-factory expectations.”

Qantas said its inspection programme was fully compliant with a directive issued by the European Aviation Safety Authority for all Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines.

“Qantas’ A380 aircraft will not return to service until there is complete certainty that the fleet can operate safely,” the airline said.

Singapore Airlines grounded three of its A380s on Wednesday to replace engines after finding unexpected oil stains during tests, while Germany’s Lufthansa said it would replace one A380 engine as a precaution.

Merapi delays for passengers

Meanwhile, hundreds of passengers delayed because of volcanic ash in Indonesia are expected to get back on flights today and tomorrow.

Qantas cancelled a Sydney-Jakarta return service yesterday due to the Mount Merapi volcano eruption, which has killed 191 people since it began erupting late last month.

As a result of the volcanic ash, Jetstar also changed its flight schedule to Bali, affecting 300 passengers, AAP reported.

Jetstar services out of Sydney and Darwin were rescheduled for Thursday morning.

And 400 Qantas passengers have been offered the next available flight tomorrow, while those in Jakarta are being accommodated on Garuda services direct to Sydney.

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