Qantas Airways Files Claim In Federal Court

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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One Response to Qantas Airways Files Claim In Federal Court

  1. admin says:

    Hi Kevin,
    It would be nice to see the original pleadings as drafted in the Statement of Claim, otherwise the only thing to do is try to piece the various causes of action together second hand from newspaper reports. As far as I can tell Qantas are claiming that there was a manufacturing defect in relation to which Qantas allege Rolls-Royce gave a guarantee as to the merchantability of the Trent 900 engines in relation to their use in Qantas airbuses. However there is also a reference which I have seen to reliance upon misleading advice from Rolls-Royce received back in 2000/2001 in relation to their operation which Qantas are relying upon in terms of TPA claims. It would be interesting to see the Statement of Claim and various causes of action as pleaded however ..agree, as newspaper reports appear to be a bit sketchy and irreconcilable.

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