Qantas to resume A380 flights to Los Angeles on 16 Jan

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Qantas Airways will resume operating the Airbus A380 to Los Angeles on 16 January, after it stopped operating the superjumbo jet on trans-Pacific routes following an uncontained engine failure two months ago.

The Oneworld carrier will operate the A380 from Melbourne to Los Angeles on 16 January, and will resume A380 flights on Sydney-Los Angeles later this month.

"After extensive engineering analysis and close consultation with Rolls-Royce, Airbus and the European and Australian regulators, Qantas, Rolls-Royce and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority are now satisfied that it is appropriate for Qantas to resume A380 flying on the Los Angeles-Australia routes," says the airline.

Qantas grounded all A380 flights after one of its A380s experienced an uncontained engine failure on a Singapore-Sydney flight on 4 November. It had progressively resumed A380 services since then but has not done so on flights to Los Angeles, due to thrust limitations on Qantas' Trent 900 engines which emerged in the aftermath of the failure.

"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," says Qantas' CEO Alan Joyce without elaborating.

A Qantas spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about what changes were made to the Trent 900s to allow them to operate again on the trans-Pacific routes, which would require maximum engine thrust.

Altogether, Qantas will operate 14 A380 services a week for the remainder of January on three routes, says the airline. The routes are: Melbourne-Singapore-London, Sydney-Los Angeles and Sydney-Singapore-London, it adds.

It is not clear yet if the 16 January Melbourne-Los Angeles flight will be the only one operated with the A380 this month. A Qantas spokesman did not immediately respond to queries.

The airline will gradually increase A380 frequencies on London and Los Angeles routes as more aircraft return to service and new deliveries join the fleet, it says.

Qantas operates seven A380s currently, including the jet damaged in the 4 November incident.

In response to Qantas' announcement, Rolls-Royce says: "We are delighted that Qantas is now resuming its services to Los Angeles and that the Trent 900 fleet has returned to normal operation. All engine thrust restrictions have now been removed in agreement with Airbus, our airline customers and the regulators."