LONDON – Following last week’s spate of incidents involving Qantas aircraft, the national flag carrier’s international and domestic CEO Andrew David has issued a statement to allay customer concerns.
Last week saw a string of incidents involving the carriers Boeing 737 – 800 fleet, which saw in-flight incidents on three consecutive days. A further incident involved the turnback of a Qantaslink turboprop regional commuter with a possible wing flap problem.
To place some perspective on the situation, CEO Andrew David has issued the following statement:
“Across aviation, there are diversions and air turn backs happening every day for a range of reasons. They usually reflect an abundance of caution and that’s why flying is such a safe way to travel.
When they happen at Qantas, we’re proud of how well our people deal with them, and that comes back to our safety record and our commitment to training.
We understand that when you hear reports of planes turning around, it’s concerning. But people can be assured that aviation is built on safeguards, and one of those safeguards is that if something isn’t right, we take a conservative approach to the problem rather than pressing on.
Aircraft are complex pieces of machinery with millions of moving parts and it’s not uncommon to have a problem with one of them.
What’s important to know is that aircraft are designed with that in mind and have a lot of built in redundancy, and our crew are trained to deal with those situations so that they can land safely.
Qantas always puts safety first, from how we maintain our aircraft to how we fly them. That hasn’t changed for 100 years and it never will.”
Qantas experienced a fifth incident on Sunday evening when scheduled flight QF102 inbound to Sydney from Nadi, Fiji requested landing priority when fumes were detected in the cabin. The landing was not the subject of an emergency and was subsequently uneventful.
According to news source The New Daily, early indications suggest that the source of the fumes was an oven in the aircraft galley.
Two put some perspective on the run of turn backs and in-flight incidents, CEO Andrew David points out that the Qantas Group averages around 60 air turn backs per year out of more than 10,000 across the total industry.
He further ventures the information that globally, there are an estimated 400-500 engine shutdowns across all narrow body jet aircraft per year. Qantas’ shutdown rate on the Boeing 737 is well below the industry average.