Qantas Airways Ltd filed a Statement of Claim in the Federal Court of Australia in the hope that London engineering company Rolls-Royce Group Plc will arrive at a suitable commercial settlement for the financial and operational costs incurred as a result of alleged defects in Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines powering the Airbus A380 superjumbo jet.
The legal action follows a mid-air engine explosion of a Sydney bound Qantas A380 over Indonesia’s Batam Island on November 4, forcing an emergency landing in Singapore.
What followed was a 19 day grounding of Qantas’ fleet of the largest and newest passenger planes in the world.
Within their pleadings Qantas claims it acquired the Airbus superjumbos as they could carry 450 passengers from Australia to the US.
The Australian Airline is currently undergoing commercial negotiations with Rolls-Royce however have taken action to keep all avenues of recovery available to them recuperate financial losses occasioned by the grounding of the A380 fleet and continuing operational constraints imposed on A380 services. Although Qantas has not been able to quantify the financial damage sustained they have estimated the loss to be in the vicinity of $60 million just in relation to lost revenue.
Qantas is also requesting Rolls Royce to fund a $1 million credit note guaranteeing against “uncontained engine failure”. Qantas allege that whilst Rolls Royce modified the Trent 900 engine, it was negligent in not updating the 23 engines on Qantas’ jets.
Australian safety inspectors have publicly announced the discovery of a manufacturing defect in the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 jet engines installed in some Airbus A380s which could cause cause engine failure in the planes.
According to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the defect could lead to “fatigue cracking, oil leakage and potential engine failure from an oil fire within the HP/IP bearing buffer space“. The defect is thought to arise from a misaligned oil pipe counter-boring.
The problems have cost Qantas millions of dollars and caused it to replace the A380 with Boeing 747s on some of its long-haul flights.
The A380 with Trent 900 engines installed, received joint European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Type Certification on 12 December 2006. Rolls-Royce delivered the first Trent 900 engine in February 2004.
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