Computer glitch grounds Qantas A380

In an incident, that will definitely not please either the airline, or the airframe manufacturer, the world’s largest commercial airliner the Airbus A380 superjumbo, operated by Australian carrier Qantas was grounded in Fiji due to a computer glitch.

VH-OQB, the second aircraft in Qantas’ A380 fleet, recently delivered, and which commenced operations just one week ago, was on a routine flight QF 12 from Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) having departed LAX December 26th. It was forced to divert and make an emergency landing at Nadi in Fiji, in the early hours of Sunday, December 28th, when a passenger fell ill on board.

The landing was reportedly smooth. In fact, Fiji had just reached an agreement that Nadi airport would be used in emergency situations by the A380, and the Fijian aviation authorities hailed the landing. Many Fijians rushed to the airport to see the behemoth.

It is then the problems began. As per the Sydney Morning Herald

The ill passenger was taken off the plane and the flight was expected to resume shortly afterwards. But the plane ended up staying on the tarmac for a further four hours after an indicator light in the cockpit came on and required examination by an engineer.

Qantas said the light did not indicate a serious safety issue.

The airline sought approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to allow a Fiji-based A330 engineer to check the plane. However, before it could get approval, Qantas had to cancel the trip, because the flight crew would have breached their allowable working hours.

All passengers were accommodated in local hotels and a 747, sent to pick up the passengers, is expected to fly them to Sydney this morning.

The replacement Qantas Boeing 747-400 reached Sydney as flight QF 8012 with a delay of 25 hours.

Qantas has been having a spate of incidents recently, and I don’t know if the bad luck of the airline is rubbing off on the new A380s.

30 December update.

Received a comment from a person claiming to part of the crew, who clarified that there was no glitch, but more of an issue of crew limits. Read the full comment below.

If true, I am indeed very happy.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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