Qantas is reportedly planning a January 17 return to the Pacific route for its A380 fleet after receiving assurances from Rolls-Royce that the aircraft’s Trent 900 engines can be operated at full thrust settings.
While the carrier is yet to confirm the date, media reports say global ticketing systems have the A380 loaded on the Los Angeles route to and from Sydney and Melbourne from that date instead of the 747 which has been operating on the route since the November 2 uncontained failure of an A380 engine shortly after takeoff from Singapore. Qantas immediately grounded its A380 fleet for inspections of all Trent 900 engines, and returned the aircraft to service on the Kangaroo route to London from November 28.
The aircraft have been deemed uneconomical out of LAX since the Singapore incident due to Qantas restricted power settings on the Trent 900s while the investigations continue, resulting in reduced loads. It is understood CASA will need to validate Rolls-Royce’s assurances before the aircraft returns to the Pacific.
Five of Qantas’s seven A380s, including VH-OQG which was delivered in December, are now back in service and are currently employed exclusively on the Kangaroo route to London via Singapore. The aircraft which suffered the engine failure, VH-OQA, remains in Singapore, while VH-OQC is still in Sydney awaiting two new engines and is expected to return to service by the middle of January.