Asia-Pacific

Qantas resuming Airbus A380 flights to US after blast

Damaged engine of Qantas A380
Image caption Qantas grounded its fleet of A380s for intensive safety checks after the explosion on 4 November

Australian airline Qantas is to resume flights of its Airbus A380s to the United States, two months after suspending them following a mid-air engine explosion.

Qantas said the first flight would take off from Melbourne for Los Angeles on Sunday.

It resumed limited A380 flights to London in late November.

But its trans-Pacific flights were suspended for longer as the journey requires greater engine thrust.

"In close consultation with Rolls-Royce, we are now confident that we can begin flying the A380 to and from Los Angeles without any conditions on the use of maximum engine thrust", Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said.

"The decision not to operate Los Angeles services allowed us to gain further operational experience before deploying the A380 on these routes," Mr Joyce added.

Australian safety investigators said in December that an oil leak in a turbine of a Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine may have caused the explosion, but were satisfied with the actions taken to prevent it happening again.

British engine-maker Rolls-Royce said in a statement it was "delighted" that Qantas had lifted its restrictions on the use of the A380 engines and returned them to normal service.

Qantas grounded its six A380s for intensive safety checks after the explosion on 4 November punched a hole in the wing of a Qantas Singapore-Australia flight.

It has replaced or modified at least 16 of its A380 engines since then.

The A380 is the world's largest passenger plane, a double-decker which can carry up to 800 people - though Qantas A380s are set up to carry about 450.

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