News of two further inflight incidents overshadowed Qantas’s 90th anniversary celebrations for staff at its Sydney Jet Base on Saturday.
Six minutes after takeoff from Singapore on Friday evening passengers and crew on 747-400 VH-OJD operating QF6 bound for Sydney heard a bang and saw sparks emit from the aircraft’s number 1 RB211 engine. The aircraft dumped fuel before landing back at Singapore. Coincidentally, among the 19 crew and 412 passengers on board were the flight and cabin crew of the A380 which had operated the ill-fated QF32, which had suffered an uncontained engine failure less than 48 hours earlier.
Then in a separate incident, a 747-400 operating QF29 between Hong Kong and London requested a priority landing at Heathrow due to a suspected hydraulics system warning light. Subsequent inspection at Heathrow found that the hydraulics were operating normally.
The two incidents served to take attention away from a staff day at Sydney Airport to celebrate Qantas’s 90th anniversary, which starred Qantas ‘brand ambassador’ actor John Travolta. Travolta flew into the event in his Qantas painted 707-138B, N707JT, addressed and took questions from Qantas staff, and cut a 90th birthday cake with CEO Alan Joyce. Various Qantas aircraft were on display and open for inspection, including A380 VH-OQC which was also having its engines inspected, a Q400, an A330-200 and a 767-300.
A similar event for staff was due to be held in Brisbane on Sunday.