One emergency landing is unfortunate, but three might be regarded as careless.
The Australian airline Qantas has had a bad start to the week after an electrical fault sent smoke into the cockpit of a Boeing 747, forcing pilots to turn back to Sydney. Incredibly, this is the third occasion its jetliners have aborted flights since the Nov. 4 explosion on the Airbus A380.
221 passengers and crew was an hour into a flight bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina. This comes just days after a Qantas Boeing 767 turned back once pilots detected abnormal vibrations in one of its two General Electric engines. The week before, a Qantas Boeing 747 landed in Singapore after an engine caught fire mere minutes after takeoff.
The A380 incident — lest we forget, the A380 is among the most prestigious of aircraft in circulation — is still being investigated. The latest news is that another 29 Rolls-Royce engines may have to be replaced although a Qantas spokesman wouldn’t confirm the report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
All of Qantas’s six Airbus A380s remain grounded after the Nov. 4 midair engine explosion though it is believed that there is financial pressure to get them back up in the air, as the international routes between Australia and Los Angeles, Singapore and London are understandably lucrative. But with yet another incident Monday (albeit not on the A380), the question remains whether anyone will actually want to fly on Qantas once the superjumbos — and presumably the rest of its aircraft — are deemed safe.