LONDON – For the third time in three consecutive days, a scheduled Qantas flight has been forced to make a precautionary landing following an engine related issue.
Earlier today, the Sydney bound Qantas flight QF430, operated by a Boeing 737-800 registered VH-VXP, made a precautionary return to Melbourne after flight crew received an indication of a “minor engine issue”.
The flight had departed from Melbourne normally, and was still in Victorian airspace when the decision to return was made.
The aircraft subsequently made an uneventful landing, with a Qantas spokesman clarifying that the return was a standard precautionary measure, and was not escalated to an emergency or priority landing, according to the Australian news source News.com.
Today’s incident is the third involving a Qantas flight in three days.
On Wednesday, January 18, Qantas Flight QF144 from Auckland, New Zealand, operated by a Boeing 737-800 registered VH-XZB, initially declared an emergency approximately one hour out from Sydney.
According to the Australian national broadcaster ABC, Qantas advised that the flight had “experienced an issue with one of its engines about an hour from its destination”
The crew subsequently downgraded the level of emergency to a PAN (potential assistance needed) alert and made an uneventful landing.
The Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued a statement via ATSB Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell on the QF 144 incident on January 18, saying:
“Last night the Australian Transport Safety Bureau commenced a transport safety investigation into the in-flight engine failure incident involving a Qantas 737 aircraft during a flight from Auckland to Sydney.
“The ATSB has assigned a team of three experienced transport safety investigators, with experience in aircraft maintenance, aircraft operations, and data recovery, to commence the evidence collection phase of this investigation.”
“At the ATSB’s request the operator has quarantined the aircraft’s cockpit voice and flight data recorders. Once downloaded, information from those recorders will be analysed at the ATSB’s technical facilities in Canberra.”
Yesterday, Thursday, January 19, Qantas flight QF101 bound for Fiji, operated by a Boeing 737-800 registered VH-VZQ, made a precautionary return to Sydney after flight crew received a fault indication suggesting a ‘potential mechanical issue’.
The aircraft spent approximately two hours in a holding pattern off the New South Wales coast before finally returning to Sydney as a precaution.
The ATSB has not made a statement on the QF101 incident at this stage.