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Mon 15 Nov 2010 11:21 AM

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Qantas 747 returns to Sydney, A380s stay grounded

Flight bound for Buenos Aires returns to back Australian city due to technical problems

Qantas 747 returns to Sydney, A380s stay grounded
ALL SAFE: \nQantas said the flight, with 220 passengers and crew, landed safely (Getty Images)

A Qantas flight
bound for Buenos Aires returned to Sydney on Monday due to technical
problems, the second safety incident for the airline since one of its
Airbus A380 superjumbos made an emergency landing due to an engine

Qantas has grounded its six
Airbus A380s as it investigates the November 4 partial disintegration
of a Rolls-Royce engine and has relied on its 26 Boeing 747s for its
busiest long-haul routes.

incident follows a media report that Rolls-Royce may need to replace
another 29 A380 engines, threatening airlines with further flight
disruptions while the engine maker provides replacements.

November 4 engine failure - caused by an oil fire - was the most
serious incident affecting the world's largest passenger plane since
its launch in 2007 and has hit aviation stocks, with plane maker Airbus
warning investors of possible delivery setbacks.

two days after the A380 incident, a Qantas Boeing 747 was forced to
make an emergency landing in Singapore following an engine failure.

incident, due to an electrical fault in a cockpit instrument, adds
pressure on Qantas as it tries to maintain its image as one of the
world's safest airlines.

"At the moment we don't know what caused (Monday's) issue but believe it is a minor technical fault," a spokeswoman said.

She added it was not common that technical issues would force an aircraft to return to its departure airport.

Qantas said the flight, with 220 passengers and crew, landed safely.

promised to keep its six A380s grounded until it was completely assured
of safety, but the Sydney Morning Herald said up to 29 engines may need
to be replaced by the three airlines -- Singapore Airlines, Qantas and
Lufthansa -- using the Rolls-Royce Trent 900.

can't speak definitively about the number of engines that may
ultimately require modification work as it needs to be stressed that
investigations are continuing," said Singapore Airlines in a statement.

Rolls-Royce said on Friday, it is working on an agreed program with its
customers which will cover the replacement of the relevant module."

Qantas spokesman would not confirm the Sydney Morning Herald report and
said while more engines may need to be replaced, Qantas was not in
position to put a number on it.

with A380s have been ordered to undertake major tests and modify the
engines. Qantas and Singapore Airlines, the two biggest users of the
Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, have also replaced engines.

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