Airbus, Rolls Royce to assist in A380 engine failure investigations

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Airbus and Rolls Royce have begun investigations into the cause of a failure in a Rolls Royce Trent 900 that forced a Qantas Airways A380 to make an emergency landing in Singapore.

The Airbus team will assist the Air Accident Investigation Bureau of Singapore with its investigation, says an Airbus spokesman.

A spokesman for Rolls Royce says the engine maker is also helping with investigations, but declined to comment on possible causes for the engine failure. "Investigations are at a very early stage," he said. "It's important to get the facts first."

The A380 involved in the incident, which had the registration number VH-OQA, had just lifted off en-route from Singapore to Sydney when it suffered the engine failure. Passengers report hearing an explosion, and amateur footage from the Indonesian island of Batam, twenty kilometres from Singapore, shows a large aircraft trailing smoke from its left wing.

When the plane was safely on the ground in Singapore, media photographs showed that the cowling for the number two engine was missing. TV footage from Batam showed residents picking up debris in the red and white colours of Qantas.

Following the incident Qantas suspended all A380 flights.

"Safety is our number one priority," says Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. "We are suspending all A380 flights until we have sufficient information, until we are completely confident that all Qantas safety standards are met."

VH-OQA was the first A380 delivered to Qantas, entering service on 18 September 2008. Qantas has six A380s in active service and another 14 on order. It operates them on its high-yield high-capacity services out of Melbourne and Sydney to London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, and Singapore.