The world’s largest operator of Airbus A380s has deplored the grounding of rival carrier Qantas’s fleet of six ‘superjumbos’ following an engine blow out last week, but defended the aircraft as “superb”.

Emirates president Tim Clark said: “To ground six aircraft is very serious.” But he pointed out the Emirates aircraft are fitted with Engine Alliance engines manufactured in the US rather than the Rolls Royce model that suffered the failure and blew a hole in the wing of a Qantas aircraft over Singapore.

Speaking at World Travel Market in London, Clark said: “The cause of the problem has been identified by Rolls Royce. It is a problem with all the engines on the Rolls Royce-powered aircraft. Fortunately, we are not one of the airlines using them. Hopefully, they will identify the fix and be flying again in the next few weeks.”

Qantas reported it had found “slight anomalies” involving oil leaks on three A380 engines. Rolls Royce said on Tuesday it had “made progress” in investigating the cause.

Emirates operates 14 A380s and has another 76 on order. Only three other carriers currently fly the aircraft – Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Air France.
Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa carried out checks on the Rolls Royce engines of their aircraft before resuming operations. Air France’s A380s are fitted with the US-made engines.

Clark insisted: “The A380 is a superb aircraft. It flies faster than the specifications and uses 2% less fuel than Airbus told us. Paradoxically, it uses less fuel the faster you fly.”