Qantas incident investigation targets R-R’s quality control

The Australian Transportation Safety Board (ATSB) says it is reviewing Rolls-Royce’s quality control system as part of its continuing investigation into the uncontained failure of a Trent 900 engine that severely damaged a Qantas A380 last November.

6th Jun 2011


 Qantas incident investigation targets R-R’s quality control

The Australian Transportation Safety Board (ATSB) says it is reviewing Rolls-Royce’s quality control system as part of its continuing investigation into the uncontained failure of a Trent 900 engine that severely damaged a Qantas A380 last November.
In its interim investigation report on the incident, the ATSB says it is “continuing to review the quality control and quality assurance system affecting the engine design and manufacturing process.”
The incident, on 4 November 2010, forced flight QF32 to make an emergency landing in Singapore, minutes after taking off from the island’s Changi Airport on the second leg of a flight from London to Sydney. The failure occurred in a turbine disc in the No 2 engine, which had been weakened by an oil fire.
The disc shattered and resulting debris penetrated the aircraft’s left wing and a number of other areas.
“The oil fire that weakened the disc was due to a manufacturing defect in an oil-feed pipe,” which cracked and leaked into an engine cavity, where the oil ignited, the safety regulator says.
The ATSB adds that it is examining, in conjunction with the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch and Rolls-Royce, “the circumstances and missed opportunities with the potential to have detected the reduced wall thickness and offset counter-bore of the oil feed pipe prior to, during and after the manufacture” of the affected engine module.
The final report on the incident will probably be ready in May 2012, the regulator says.
 

[Headline:] Asia-Pacific airlines post record 2010 profit
Asia-Pacific airlines made a record combined net profit of US$9.5 billion in 2010, reversing the US$1.7 billion loss suffered a year earlier, according to preliminary financial figures released in early May by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

The result came thanks to a resurgence of air travel and air freight demand, which outpaced capacity growth to yield record load factors, the AAPA says. International passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres, grew 9.6 percent in the period, while international cargo traffic, in freight tonne kilometres, surged by 24 percent.

Combined revenue for the region’s airlines grew 30 percent to US$147 billion, from US$113 billion in 2009. Passenger revenue rose 26 percent to US$106 billion, while cargo revenue jumped 52 percent to US$22 billion.

Operating expenses increased by 18 percent to US$134 billion, mainly due to a 28 percent increase in fuel costs to US$43 billion, the single biggest cost for the airlines. Fuel expenditure as a percentage of total operating costs rose to 32 percent in 2010, from 29 percent the previous year, as oil prices rose 29 percent to an average of US$80 per barrel in 2010. Non-fuel expenditures grew 13 percent to US$91 billion, with overall manpower costs rising 12 percent.

“The medium- and long-term prospects for Asia-Pacific aviation remain very positive, but the immediate outlook is somewhat clouded by the sharp increase in oil prices this year, which may dampen the global economic recovery,” says Andrew Herdman, the AAPA’s Director General.
[Byline:] – Andrzej Jeziorski
 

Asian Aviation at a glance