18 months after she suffered an uncontained engine failure shortly after take-off from Singapore, Qantas A380 Nancy Bird-Walton has returned to action after one of the most comprehensive repairs in aviation history.
The final repair bill came to A$139 million (US$144 million), all covered by insurance. "She's running a little late, by about 18 months. But looking at the repairs, it has been worth it. She is almost brand new." said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce in Singapore before the flight back to Australia.
Qantas executives praised the "team effort" with Airbus and even arch-rivals Singapore Airlines - whose engineering arm provided one of its A380 hangars to cater for the stricken aircraft.
Airbus carried out structural wing repairs and replaced all systems affected, including pneumatic, electrical and hydraulic systems. All original engines have been removed and replaced with engines supplied by Rolls-Royce.
Qantas had stipulated that the repair should add at most 200kg to the aircrafts weight, and the carrier's head of integrated operations centre, Alan Milne, said the final weight addition was way below that. "It was negligible," he said.
The repair involved 50,000 design man hours and 76,000 production man hours. Over 170 Airbus staff have worked on the project, while Qantas performed over 11,000 man hours of production work.