Qantas’ A380 Close Call: Not the First Incident For ‘The World’s Safest Airline’

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Qantas Airways 380 passenger plane flight QF32 is sprayed by rescue services after making an emergency landing at Changi airport in Singapore November 4, 2010. The Airbus A380, which had originated in London and was carrying 459 people, suffered failure of one of its four engines shortly after it had left the island state en route for Sydney. Australian officials said no one on board was injured. REUTERS/David Loh

This week held big scares for the airline that has never had a fatality. NewsFeed recaps what’s gone wrong with the line of the world’s largest of aircrafts.

Australian airline Qantas grounded its entire fleet of A380 Airbuses after a plane with more than 400 passengers made an emergency landing after part of the aircraft’s engine disintegrated mid-flight. The 1988 film Rain Man thrust Qantas into the public conscious as the world’s safest airline, but major mechanical scares in the past few years have people wondering if Qantas can hold on to its once glittering reputation.

In 2008, three of Qantas’ Boeing planes made emergency landings – two after large holes (one at 10-feet long) were ripped into the planes’ fuselage. Corrosion and exploding oxygen tanks were among the initial theories of the cause of both incidents, which happened within a week of one another.

Now, as the airline experiences another round of default among its aircrafts – this time among its fleet of A380 Airbuses – it appears the malfunctions have very little to do with Qantas itself. Powered by Rolls-Royce’s line of RB211 Trent 900 engines, the A380,is the world’s largest commercial aircraft, meant to replace the older line of Boeing 747s. At 5,146 square feet, the superjumbos can shuttle around 500 passengers at a time. Though only 37 A380s are currently in the air, 20 are fitted with the Trent 900, which was specifically created for the aircraft. Operated by Singapore, Qantas and Lufthansa airlines, A380 engine malfunctions have been reported by all three, raising questions about the safety of the engines.