Qantas resumes A380 services

Qantas is to resume services using Airbus A380 superjumbos on the Sydney-London route from Saturday – more than three weeks after an engine explosion forced an emergency landing in Singapore.

A single A380 will fly initially on routes between Australia and the UK.

As more A380s return to service, the airline will assess when and how best to deploy them. Qantas has six of the aircraft in its fleet and is due to take delivery of two new A380s before the end of the year and a further two in early 2011.

But Qantas is said it was “voluntarily suspending” A380 services on routes that regularly require use of maximum engine thrust “and will do so until further operational experience is gained or possible additional changes are made to engines”.

The action was being taken “in line with the carrier’s “conservative approach to operational safety”.

The airline said: “This is an operational decision by Qantas and pilots still have access to maximum certified thrust if they require it during flight. It is not a manufacturer’s directive.

“The decision to restore A380 services follows an intensive Trent 900 engine inspection programme carried out in close consultation with Rolls-Royce and Airbus,” the carrier said.

“Together with the engine and aircraft manufacturers and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Qantas is now satisfied that it can begin reintroducing A380s to its international network progressively.”

A380 engines remain subject to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) airworthiness directive requiring that all Trent 900s undergo certain inspections every 20 flying cycles.

Qantas said it would comply fully with this directive both for A380s brought back into service and for new aircraft entering the fleet.

Services using the giant double decker aircraft will re-start with QF31 from Sydney to Heathrow via Singapore on Saturday.

The aircraft intended to operate this service will fly to Sydney from Los Angeles. A second aircraft is expected to depart Los Angeles for Sydney later this week before re-entering service.

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