Between rocky landings and turbulence, air travel can be scary enough, but with engine failure thrown into the mix, flying can be a complete nightmare. And a nightmare it was for passengers on a Qantas flight en route to Sydney, Australia Thursday when A380 engine failure forced them to make an emergency landing.
Just after taking off from a stopover in Singapore, the Airbus A380 started having problems. Passengers heard a loud bang and were alarmed by smoke and sparks coming out of one of the four A380 engines. The pilots quickly realized one of the engines disintegrated somewhere over Indonesia. Say what? Paper planes disintegrate. But an A380? Luckily, the flight carrying 459 passengers landed safely in Singapore. Shortly after, Qantas grounded their entire Airbus A380 fleet as a precaution.
This wasn’t the first time an A380 equipped with a Rolls-Royce engine has experienced major issues while in the air. It has happened two times before! Maybe that’s why A380 orders have been few and far between. Last year, only 4 Airbuses were ordered compared to 85 back in 2001.
Airbus isn’t jumping to any conclusions over the A380 engine failure. Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist at brokerage BGC Partners in London, hypothesized:
Until the investigation is properly done we will not know whether it is a defined engine fault or if the explosion was caused by a malfunction of a part within the engine or outside interference such as a bird strike or debris. It could also be a maintenance-related issue.
If it does turn out to be an A380 engine failure issue, let’s hope Airbus does the right thing and fixes their planes before anyone gets hurts. Yeah, it’ll cost money but the alternative is far worse.