Another Qantas Plane Takes A U-turn
9th Dec 2014
This incident was the fourth aircraft by Qantas in to make a u-turn back to its point of origin.
The plane, a twin-engine single-aisle B717 jetliner, took off from Hobart' International Airport heading for Melbourne, when a light indicator in the cockpit just went off 20 minutes into its flight.
The B717 jetliner, which seats 117 passengers, was originally designed and developed by McDonnell Douglas. Its commercial production didn't start until its merger with Boeing in 1997. The first B717 aircraft (out of the 156 total produced) went into service in 1999. However, Boeing decided to stop the production of the jetliner in 2006.
Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, downplayed the successive incidents involving four of its aircraft, saying it's nothing to worry about, as it is bound to happen in any aircraft of any airline.
He even boasted that Qantas has even lower rate of turnbacks compared to most other major airlines around the world. He said that Qantas' rate is half the global average.
Before the incident, a Qantas plane heading for Dallas on its trans-Pacific flight had to make a u-turn back to Sydney after its in-flight entertainment system didn't work and its toilets malfunctioned. The aircraft was already cruising four hours into its journey when the pilot decided to turn the flight back to Sydney.
After that, a couple of Qantas planes returned to Perth Airport had to make a u-turn after the crew noticed the faulty warning system, issues involving its air-conditioning system and an unusual odor inside the cabin.
He ditched some speculations on the cause of the recent troubles of its aircraft, which was blamed on the airline's offshore maintenance. In fact, he claimed, Qantas is the only local airline that has its aircraft maintenance facilities located in Sydney and Brisbane.
He apologized, though, to the affected passengers on the latest incidents and reassured its customers that it will do its best to minimize their inconvenience by deploying planes and paying for their accommodations during such incident.