Qantas claims A380 ‘uncommercial’ for LA flights

Monday, 6 December 2010 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The 470-seat superjumbo can carry only just 80 passengers says airline

Sydney (AFP): Australia’s Qantas on Saturday said new rules imposed after an A380 engine blast meant the 470-seat superjumbo could carry just 80 passengers to Los Angeles and was “uncommercial” on the key route.

The regulations, which direct lower engine thrust, made the A380 commercially unsuitable for the trans-Pacific trip, according to legal documents filed in the carrier’s case against engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce.

“If Qantas is to avoid using the maximum takeoff thrust of 72,000 pounds, in accordance with a Rolls-Royce directive, on departure from Los Angeles, Qantas must ensure that any Trent 900-powered A380 aircraft carries no more than a payload of approx 30,000 kilograms on one runway or 20,000 kilograms on the other runway at Los Angeles,” a Qantas spokesman told AFP, reading from the airline’s statement of claim.

“The operation of the Los Angeles routes at the reduced payloads makes it uncommercial for Qantas to use a Trent 900-powered A380 on the LAX routes at all, since operation at that reduced level involves a reduction in carrying capacity so that typically only 80 passengers will be able to be transported.”

The statement was filed in the Federal Court on Friday in Qantas’s case against Rolls-Royce, following last month’s explosion of a Trent 900 engine over Indonesia which forced an A380 carrying 469 people back to Singapore.

Preliminary investigations have identified a potentially “catastrophic” manufacturing defect which caused oil leakage and a fire in the engine as the likely cause of the blast.

Qantas grounded all six of its A380s after the November 4 explosion and are yet to resume flying the world’s largest passenger jet between Australia and Los Angeles due to the extra engine thrust required.

The spokesman said the lawsuit was “just part of a legal process” to ensure Qantas was able to claim damages if negotiations with Rolls-Royce failed, and stressed that it may never end up in court.

“The hope will be that compensation will be mutually agreed and negotiated,” he said. A “dollar figure” was yet to be hammered out, he added.