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Qantas to resume A380 flights to Los Angeles: Reports

Qantas Airways plans to resume operating the Airbus A380 on flights to Los Angeles from 17 January, say Australian media reports.

The Oneworld carrier, however, has dismissed the reports as "speculative" and adds that it has yet to announce when A380 flights will resume on the trans-Pacific route.

Qantas grounded its A380 fleet following the 4 November uncontained engine failure on an A380 flight to Sydney from Singapore.

The airline has resumed A380 operations gradually since then but has not done so on flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles due to thrust limitations on the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines on its A380s.

In a statement of claim filed against Rolls-Royce in the Federal Court of Australia in December 2010, Qantas alleges that it would not be able to operate the A380 profitably on flights to Los Angeles because the engine's thrust limitations would drastically reduce the aircraft's maximum payload.

A Qantas spokesman says the airline is keen to resume A380 flights to Los Angeles, but adds that it has not confirmed a date for the superjumbo jet to return to the route.

Reports say global ticketing systems show the A380 will be operated on the Sydney-Los Angeles route from 17 January, but the spokesman says the carrier published the schedule "purely from a planning perspective".

"We are doing everything we can to put it back into service... and we won't do it until we are 100% sure it's safe," he adds.

The Qantas A380 involved in the 4 November incident remains on the ground in Singapore, while another A380 in Sydney has yet to resume flights, says the spokesman. Following the engine failure, the carrier had to replace or modify several engines on its A380s.

Qantas has a fleet of seven A380s, including the two grounded aircraft.

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