4 Nov 2010

Qantas grounds Airbus fleet after engine problem

11:16 pm on 4 November 2010

Qantas has grounded its entire Airbus A380 fleet after a flight from Singapore was forced to make emergency landing due problems with one of its engines.

The Australian plane carrying 433 passengers and 26 crew was forced to turn back on Thursday morning after part of the cover on its No 2 engine was blown off.

People on the nearby Indonesian island of Batam reported hearing an explosion and seeing debris fall from the plane about five minutes after it left Changi International Airport.

Flight QF32 had originated in London and was leaving Singapore bound for Sydney.

Qantas says the engine shut down over western Indonesia but the plane was able to land safely with three, and no one was injured in the incident.

Passenger Ulf Waschbusch was sitting on the side of the damaged engine and says he heard a loud bang and some flares. The plane had to circle for about two hours to dump fuel before it could land.

Qantas is investigating the incident and has grounded its six A380 planes until it is confident safety requirements have been met.

The A380, a double-deck airliner, is the largest passenger plane in the world and made its first commercial flight in 2007.