Passengers bound for London on a Qantas flight were left stranded in Australia for more than 26 hours following technical problems with two A380 aircraft.
After waiting five hours at Sydney airport for a hydraulics problem to be fixed, more than 100 passengers on flight QF31 boarded a replacement A380.
However, the second plane also experienced technical difficulties and had to return to the terminal shortly before take-off.
“In the early stages of its take-off roll just before 11pm, the flight crew received an engine control message which required a return to the terminal and a night stop,” a Qantas spokesperson said.
The passengers were compensated with overnight accommodation and meals and were booked on to other flights.
Qantas has been battling to restore its reputation following a number of in-flight incidents and other safety and reliability problems over the past 18 months.
Qantas workers have complained that the outsourcing of maintenance to cheaper offshore locations is compromising passenger safety — up to 20 per cent of heavy aircraft maintenance has been sent to Asia.
In January 2008 a Qantas 747 lost power on its descent into Bangkok, after water leaking through a drip shield in the galley shut down three of the four power generation units.
The next month the landing gear failed on a Qantas flight from Gladstone to Rockhampton in Queensland, and in July The Australian newspaper reported that staples were used to hold wiring in place on a Qantas 747-400.
One of the most terrifying incidents occurred in October 2008 when a Qantas A330 plunged 650ft in a few seconds after a computer malfunction that was possibly triggered by electrical interference. More than 50 people were injured in the incident over Western Australia.
From 2010 Qantas will bring back the maintenance of its A330 fleet to its Brisbane hanger in Queensland from its current Phillippine location.