Qantas Airbus A380 returns from Azerbaijan

A Qantas A380 on approach to land.
allen watkin from London, UK, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – A Qantas Airbus A380 which was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Baku, Azerbaijan prior to Christmas is now on the return flight to Australia.

Source: Flightradar24

Last week’s incident

The Airbus A380, registered VH-OQH and designated Flight QF1, had departed Singapore Changi Airport on Friday December 23 and was approximately 9 hours into its scheduled non-stop flight to London Heathrow Airport, when flight crew declared an emergency over Georgia.

The aircraft then made a precautionary diversion to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, where it landed without incident.

Qantas made a statement after the landing, stating:

“Our flight from Singapore to London has made an unscheduled landing at Baku Airport in Azerbaijan after the aircraft intermittently alerted the pilots to the potential of smoke in the cargo hold.”

“Although it was considered likely to be a sensor fault, the aircraft diverted to Baku as a safety precaution. Initial investigations have found no evidence of smoke in the cargo hold.”

Recovery flight

A recovery flight, an Airbus A380 registered VH-OQD and designated Qantas flight QF6025 was despatched from Sydney on Christmas Eve to collect stranded passengers from Baku, Azerbaijan and fly them onwards to London.

The passengers arrived at London Heathrow Airport on Christmas morning, two days after their scheduled arrival.

Return to service

Qantas engineering staff reportedly replaced a faulty sensor in the aircraft cargo hold. Airbus A380 VH-OQH is expected to be returned to service next week.

The aircraft had been returned to service in March this year. Along with a number of Airbus A380s and Boeing 787s, it had been held in storage in the Californian desert during the pandemic.

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