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QANTAS: Another engine fault light and another plane turn back!

QANTAS: Another engine fault light and another plane turn back!

Qantas just can’t win a trick at the moment.

For the third day in a row, Qantas has had a plane (QF4) recording an engine fault indicator light on the flight deck. As a result, this Melbourne to Sydney flight this morning turned back, landing safely at about 10 am. Qantas’ safety protocols are fairly conservative. Even though the indication was of ‘a minor engine issue’, a cautionary approach means that the plane needed to head for the nearest major airport.

Three Flights

Today, a turnback of a Sydney-bound flight from Melbourne for an indication of a minor engine issue. Yesterday, a turnback of a Sydney flight to Fiji due to another fault indicator light, and then the day before (Wednesday) a mayday issued due to an engine failure on a flight from Auckland to Sydney requiring the alert of emergency services which met the landing aircraft.

a group of airplanes in the sky
Qantas Airbus fleet renewal order

Replacement aircraft

Interestingly, or maybe coincidentally, all aircraft were 737-800s which are due to be replaced starting next financial year by Airbus aircraft of the A320neo family. The first to arrive will be the A321XLR aircraft, with 180 to 220 seats in a two-class configuration, compared to 174 seats on the current 737-800s. The smaller version, A320neo, will sport between 150 and 180 seats.

a group of blue circles with black text
Airbus 220 Range chart compared to Boeing 737-800

2PAXfly Takeout

Since Qantas has combined its Airbus order with that of its sister airline, Jetstar, it’s hard to know who will get the new jets first. With 300 aircraft on order, including A320, A321 and A220 models, Qantas will have great scheduling flexibility over the next decade as it retires the Boeing 737s and 717s.

If these recent faults are just a concentration of the usual random incidents, then, nothing to worry about. Well done, Qantas safety protocols. If, on the other hand, they are what every nervous flyer fears most, a portend of some systemic maintenance issue or a consequence of the age of the Qantas 737 fleet, then Qantas has a problem. All indications are that it is the former. Let’s hope so.

1 Comment

  1. AA56

    All hype is beaten up by the media. I know I want to be in an aircraft flown by an Australian-trained Qantas pilot when things get challenging upfront.


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