Pilot & Crew From A380 Were On 747

The pilot and crew who lived through the first Qantas engine failure were on board when flames shot out of an engine on a second Qantas plane forcing it back to Singapore.

Qantas has stressed that mid-air engine failures that struck two of the airline’s planes in as many days are unrelated.

A Qantas A380 carrying 466 passengers and crew was forced to return to Singapore’s Changi Airport on Thursday after an engine exploded and failed during ascent, raining debris onto an Indonesian island.

Then, less than two days later, a Sydney-bound Boeing 747 turned back to Singapore shortly after take-off after reporting engine trouble. Both planes landed safely, with no injuries to anyone on board.

Worse still, Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny and his crew from the first Qantas aircraft to blow an engine were on board, making a second attempt to get back home.

They have already boarded their third flight to Australia in as many days.

In the second incident, late on Friday, the tell-tale bang came just six minutes after the plane took off from Changi Airport.

Passenger Agatha Bellesso says she quickly feared the worst.

“We saw a bit of flames coming from the wing and the flight attendants started to scream ‘Flame flame! Head down, stay down!’,” she said.

Qantas grounded its fleet of A380s after Thursday’s incident, but there were no plans to ground the airline’s 747 fleet.

The airline’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, says the two incidents were very different.

“The engine on the 747 is an engine that we’ve been operating for over 30 years, where the engines that are on the A380 are new engines,” he said.

“We are not concerned about our 747 fleet. Those engines have a long life. We’ve seen in-flight shutdowns take place before. It’s … not a safety issue.”

Asked whether he thought the 747 had been sabotaged, Mr Joyce said: “We do not believe this is sabotage. It looks like a mechanical failure of the engine.”

Qantas spokeswoman Olivia Wirth says while both aircraft operated on Rolls-Royce engines, they were using different models and there was no apparent connection between the incidents.

“These are both unrelated incidents,” Ms Wirth said.

“They are unrelated.”

Qantas’s 90th anniversary celebrations yesterday were marred by the mid-air incidents.

The airline says its expects its A380 fleet to be back in service within days.