A Qantas A380 superjumbo diverted to Dubai and landed safely on Friday after an oil problem forced pilots to shut down one of its four engines.
The flight crew noticed a problem with the oil level, according to Qantas spokeswoman Olivia Wirth. Flight QF31, heading from Singapore to London, landed safely with its 258 passengers and 25 crew unhurt.
Exactly a year ago another Qantas A380 suffered a midair engine explosion after takeoff from Singapore. In that case a defective engine pipe leaked oil, sparking a fire that destroyed a turbine disc and sent pieces of the disc into the plane’s wing, an Australian safety report said. A380s around the world were grounded so engine-maker Rolls-Royce could replace the part.
Wirth said the anniversary was a coincidence and the events were unrelated.
“This is a one-off incident,” Wirth said of Friday’s engine problem. “Obviously it will be a priority of ours to work out what the particular problem is in this engine.”
Engineers were inspecting the plane in Dubai to see whether it could continue to London. The airline was finding hotels or alternative flights for passengers, Wirth said.
Qantas grounded its entire fleet last weekend and threatened to lock out unions that had been staging months of strikes. The move stranded thousands of passengers around the world and enraged Australian government officials, who ordered an emergency court hearing. On Monday the court ordered the airline to end the lockout and the unions to halt their strikes. Flights resumed on Tuesday.
On Wednesday officials said police were investigating the suspected sabotage of the entertainment system on a Qantas plane. Qantas said engineers noticed several wires were cut on the plane’s in-flight entertainment system on 26 October at the height of the labour dispute.
The engineers’ union said it was unlikely the plane was sabotaged because of anything to do with the dispute.
The actor Stephen Fry, who was on board the plane that diverted to Dubai, tweeted that passengers were stuck on board for more than an hour before being taken by bus to a terminal to await further news — and he had left his wallet behind in the aircraft.