The pilots flying the Emirates Airbus A340-500 that suffered a severe tailstrike at Melbourne on 20 March have left the airline.

A spokesman for the carrier says: "I can confirm that they have resigned." He declined to give any further explanation.

The aircraft (A6-ERG) remains in Australia after being extensively damaged on take-off from the 3660m (12,000ft) runway 16 during which it suffered at least one tailstrike and is reported to have struck antennas just beyond the runway end.

It climbed to an intermediate altitude before dumping fuel for about 30min and then returned to Melbourne instead of continuing to Dubai. It landed without further incident.

No further information on the cause of the accident has been released, although ATI understands that suggestions of a problem with one of the four Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines have been ruled out, despite passenger reports of seeing sparks or flame from one of them during the take-off run.

Kieran Daly is puzzled by Emirates' rapid action. Read his blog.

Emirates A340 tail scrape 

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news