Qantas plays down aircraft mishap in HK
B747 grounded when problem in one of the plane's generators was detected
Qantas dismissed its latest aircraft mishap as minor yesterday after a Sydney-bound jumbo was grounded in Hongkong.
The Boeing 747-400 was the same plane which skidded off the Bangkok runway last year and which Qantas spent US$96 million (S$163.2 million) refitting.
Last month, a Qantas jumbo crashed while taxiing at Rome airport when its starboard undercarriage collapsed.
But the airline rejected union accusations that the problems were the result of outsourcing maintenance work.
"This isn't a serious one," Qantas aircraft operations manager David Forsyth told ABC radio.
"Airlines around the world have these sorts of defects occur pretty regularly.
"This length of delay and having to overnight people at the hotel is not all that common, fortunately, but it's certainly not what we classify as an accident or incident."
A jumbo jet was grounded in Hongkong on Saturday night when problem in one of the plane's generators was detected an hour after take off.
Ground engineers fixed the fault and the Sydney-bound flight was rescheduled to leave yesterday but the same problem was detected as the crew prepared to take off for the second time. Mr Forsyth said Qantas was intent on keeping its fine safety record and the plane would soon return to the air.
"In terms of the Bangkok accident, that's not the sort of accident that anyone like Qantas wants to have," Mr Forsyth said. "It's a very serious one and being taken that way.
"But the one that's being reported from Hongkong overnight, those sorts of disruptions do occur.
"It will be flying again, as soon as they find whatever little electrical bug it is that's causing the problem."
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union predicted more problems while the airline continued to outsource maintenance operations to overseas companies.
"We are very concerned about our members' jobs and we just want to get Qantas back to the reputation it had before of being an airline that you can trust, an airline that you can fly safely with, an airline that delivers people on time," union national secretary Doug Cameron told ABC radio.
Such a reputation had almost disappeared as outsourcing continued, he said.
He doubted the validity of Qantas assurances it outsourced just 12.5 per cent of fleet work. -- AFP