Repairs to QF32 A380 cost A$139m

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Repairs to the Qantas Airways Airbus A380 that had an uncontained engine failure in November 2010 came up to A$139 million.

The entire tab was picked up by the insurance companies, says Alan Milne, head of the integrated operations centre at Australia's flag carrier.

"Ultimately, this is the insurance company's decision to make. They have to look at the options, and the cost of repairing the aircraft was clearly far less than the cost of a new aircraft," adds Milne.

"Of course, Qantas had to be satisfied that repairing the aircraft would not lead to any subsequent safety issues and that the performance would not be affected. We only agreed to the plan when we were absolutely certain of that."

The repairs added around 200kg in weight to the aircraft, but Milne says this is "negligible" when it comes to fuel burn and any other performance metrics.

The aircraft, which rolled off the Airbus production line in September 2008 and has the registration VH-OQA, will be flown back to Sydney, Australia from Singapore on 21 April after 18 months of extensive repairs.

It will enter into service once again on 28 April on the Sydney-Hong Kong route.

On the morning of 4 November 2010, the aircraft was operating on flight QF32 from Singapore to Sydney. Shortly after take-off, its No 2 engine had an uncontained failure over the Indonesian island of Batam, but the pilots managed to fly the aircraft back to Singapore safely.

Australian investigators have finished collecting data for an investigation into the uncontained failure of the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine. The data is being analysed and a final report is expected in the third quarter of 2012.

So far, the investigations identified a defect in an oil feed tube as the cause behind an oil fire, which led to the engine failure. The defect caused a section of the oil tube to thin out and crack, leading to an internal engine oil fire that weakened the intermediate pressure turbine disc. This was then separated from the turbine shaft, puncturing the engine case and wing structure.