Monday, November 8, 2010

Qantas to keep A380 planes grounded

By Sarah Turner, MarketWatch

SYDNEY (MarketWatch) — Qantas Airways Ltd. shares closed 2.1% lower Monday, as the carrier said its fleet of giant A380 planes are set to remain on the ground for another 72 hours.

Last Thursday, Qantas /quotes/comstock/22x!e:qan (AU:QAN 2.80, -0.06, -2.10%) /quotes/comstock/11i!qubsf (QUBSF 2.78, -0.13, -4.47%) grounded its fleet of six giant Airbus A380 aircraft after the failure of an engine on an A380 plane en route to Sydney from Singapore resulted in an emergency landing in Singapore.

The cause of the engine failure is now being investigated by the maker of the plane, EADS NV’s /quotes/comstock/24s!e:ead (FR:EAD 18.64, +0.26, +1.41%) /quotes/comstock/11i!eadsy (EADSY 25.81, -0.24, -0.92%) Airbus, and by Rolls Royce PLC /quotes/comstock/23s!a:rr. (UK:RR. 572.50, -18.50, -3.13%) , the plane’s engine supplier.

Obama: India, Pakistan should talk

U.S. President Obama called on India to bolster peace efforts with Pakistan. Video courtesy of Reuters.

Three engines have been removed from another three A380 planes for testing, Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said Monday at a press conference in Sydney .

“Oil leaks were discovered in three engines,” Joyce told reporters, adding that the leaks were “beyond normal tolerances.”

The engines aren’t performing to the parameters expected, he said, adding that the probe will look at engine design and materials used.

Joyce said that he believes the firm can work with Rolls Royce and Airbus to fix the issue.

“It’s too early to put a number on the total cost,” he said, adding that the firm will do that once the aircraft are back in service.

“The focus is still on working to get the aircraft back in operation. Any discussion on compensation will take place after that,” he said.

Sarah Turner is MarketWatch's bureau chief in Sydney.

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