Qantas passengers are facing a series of disruptions over the coming week as the carrier suspends all A380 services, following this afternoon's emergency landing in Singapore by a Qantas A380 – flight QF32 – which experienced engine trouble shortly after take-off.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says although the investigation is at the early stages, the cause of the incident "looks like an uncontained engine failure". Photos taken by media at Changi airport show the A380's number two jet engine exposed and missing the rear cowling, parts of which were reported to have fallen onto the nearby Indonesian island of Batam.
"We have decided that we will suspend all A380 takeoffs until we are fully comfortable that sufficient information has been obtained about QF32," Joyce sayd. "We will suspend those A380 services until we are completely confident that Qantas safety requirements have been met."
The carrier currently has six A380s in its fleet, flying from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles, Singapore and London. Qantas has immediately grounded all flights involving those aircraft and will organise alternative flights.
The carrying capacity of Qantas' A380 four-class configuration is 450 passengers, compared to 412 on its fully-loaded 747-400 two-class 'Longreach' series and just 307 on the older four-class 747-400s.
This could mean a shortfall in seats depending on the current booking levels, and Qantas may need to work with Oneworld partners British Airways to accommodate any passenger overflow onto BA flights out of London and Singapore. Oneworld has no alliance members other than Qantas plying the Australia-US route
Passengers from flight QF32 are being provided with overnight accommodation in a Singapore hotel and will return to Sydney on a replacement aircraft which is flying up to Singapore tonight and will depart tomorrow.