Asia-Pacific

Qantas makes more checks over A380 engine 'anomalies'

A Qantas A380 at Los Angeles International Airport (5 November 2010)
Image caption Qantas jets have been hit by two separate engine problems in as many days

The Australian airline, Qantas, has said it has found "slight anomalies" on three Airbus A380 engines and is keeping its fleet of six passenger jets grounded for further checks.

Chief executive Alan Joyce said there "was oil where oil shouldn't be on the engines" of two of the super-jumbos.

Qantas was "trying to check what the cause of that would be", he added.

A similar engine broke apart in flight on Thursday, forcing a Qantas A380 to make an emergency landing in Singapore.

After the incident - the first since the aircraft came into service in 2007 - the airline began checking their Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines.

On Monday, Mr Joyce said engineers had found oil in three engines, which was unusual given that they were only two years old.

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Media captionQantas' Alan Joyce: "A380 fleet will remain out of service for at least the next 72 hours"

"These are new engines on new aircraft and they shouldn't have these issues at this stage, so it's given us indication of an area for us to focus into," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"We are keeping an open mind on it but... We think it could have been a materials issue on the engine, or a design issue."

Mr Joyce said all of the airlines A380s would likely be grounded for at least another 72 hours.

"We still believe with the progress we are making - this is days not weeks - but we will take as long as it needs to in order that we are absolutely comfortable the aircraft is safe to fly," he added.

In an unrelated incident on Friday, a Qantas Boeing 747 - also equipped with Rolls-Royce engines - was forced to return to Singapore with an engine problem after taking off.

Mr Joyce said it was "not a safety issue" and that there were no plans to ground the airline's fleet of 747s.

Rolls-Royce, the British firm which makes the engines for the Qantas planes, saw its share price fall by nearly 5% on Friday.

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