A Qantas A380-800 has suffered a pair of mechanical issues just days after being returned to service following a six-month cabin upgrade in Abu Dhabi.
VH-OQI, which left the Victorville boneyard in January, saw two issues in the span of two days late last week, one of which forced it to return to London on a flight to Singapore.
The A380 was en route to London (Heathrow) from Singapore as QF1 on 13 Jul, when it was forced to descend near Frankfurt due to an autopilot issue.
Though it performed a safe landing at Heathrow, its subsequent flight – as QF2 back to Sydney via Singapore – had to divert back to London roughly two hours into the flight, as it crossed the border between Hungary and Slovakia, reportedly due to a problem with the navigation systems.
The flight performed an overweight landing at Heathrow’s runway 27L, with crew advising it would use max reverse thrust and exit the runway at the last turnoff.
VH-OQI had operated its first flight since the completion of its cabin upgrade only days earlier, flying without incident from Sydney to London via Singapore on 10 July and returning the following day.
The news comes after another A380 from the national carrier made national news in December when it made an emergency landing in Baku while en route to London.
The incident happened after a sensor light alerted pilots to the possibility of smoke in the cargo hold days before Christmas.
The aircraft turned around above Tbilisi, Georgia, before touching down in Azerbaijan.
Investigations later revealed no evidence of smoke, meaning the incident was due to a fault with the sensor and a false alarm.
Qantas dispatched a recovery flight, which landed in the British capital on Christmas Day.
The grounded aircraft, VH-OQH, was later deemed safe to fly and returned to commercial service days later.
VH-OQA, Qantas’s first A380, was involved in arguably Australian aviation’s most serious-ever safety incident, when its Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine exploded shortly after it took off, causing a major fire in November 2010. It subsequently returned to service.