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Qantas's damaged A380 to return to service this year

The Qantas Airbus A380 aircraft damaged last November during an uncontained Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine failure will return to service this year.

"We'll be in the air by the end of the year with that aircraft," says Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. He cautions, however, that "it could take as long as September until it is fully repaired."

The aircraft has been parked at Singapore's Changi airport since the November incident.

Joyce says the cost to repair VH-OQA, the first A380 delivered to Qantas, will exceed A$100m (US$99.8m). Insurance and contractual agreements with Rolls-Royce will cover the repairs.

Qantas says A380 disruptions had a $55m cost impact in the first half of its financial year ended 31 December. The carrier estimates a further $25m impact in the second half of the year.

The November incident took out one of the aircraft's two hydraulic systems and extensively damaged the port wing. The aircraft landed safely, and the passengers and crew suffered no injuries.

The A380 fleet was grounded for three weeks after the incident.

Although services to Singapore and London resumed in late November, services to Los Angeles did not resume until last month.

Qantas has taken an injunction against Rolls-Royce in Australia, but chief financial officer Gareth Evans says Qantas prefers to reach a commercial settlement. "We'll take the time necessary to do that," he says.

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