A door on one of Qantas’ flagship A380s was just about ripped off the aircraft while it was being rolled out of a hangar at Sydney Airport (SYD). The incident occurred when the double-decker Airbus A380 registration number VH-OQB was being taken out of hangar 96 at Sydney Airport following routine maintenance.
According to reports, the aircraft was being towed out of the hangar when its door got caught up on scaffolding and was almost completely ripped off the aircraft.
A Qantas flight to Dallas had to be canceled due to the incident
The accident occurred last Friday and caused the cancelation of Qantas flight number QF7 on Saturday from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) in Texas. The return flight to Australia, Qantas QF8 which was scheduled for today, Sunday, November 10th, 2019 also had to be canceled.
Qantas released a statement about the flight cancelations carried to the Brisbane Times. It said that they confirmed that the aircraft door of the A380 sustained some damage inside the hangar during maintenance. “We are working to minimize impacts to our customers and we apologize for any delays.”
— Breaking Aviation News (@breakingavnews) November 9, 2019
Passengers who were booked on flights QF7 and QF8 were put on alternative flights.
Qantas has 12 Airbus A380s
The Airbus A380 is the jewel of the Australian airline’s fleet, of which it has 12 aircraft. Currently, two of the planes are out of service undergoing refurbishment in Brisbane and Abu Dhabi. The A380 that was damaged in Sydney now needs to have its door replaced, with engineers saying it should be able to re-enter service in around two weeks.
This latest maintenance issue comes after Qantas grounded three of its Boeing 737 fleet after having found cracks in the pickle fork. This is a device that reinforces the join between the aircraft’s wings and the fuselage.
Qantas inspected all 33 of its Boeing 737 aircraft for pickle fork issues more than a week ago. Then it took three planes out of service despite Boeing and airline regulators saying pickle fork cracks did not pose an immediate safety risk.
Qantas always put safety first
When Qantas was asked by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) about the pickle fork issues Australian national flag carrier issued a statement that read:
“We have found one example of cracking in an aircraft with just under 27,000 cycles (take-offs and landings), and this aircraft has been removed from service for repair.”
“None of Qantas’ 737s have reached the 30,000 cycle mark. However, out of an abundance of caution, we will have inspected 33 aircraft with more than 22,600 cycles by the end of the week rather than the seven months required.”
“Detailed analysis by Boeing shows that even when a crack is present, it does not immediately compromise the safety of the aircraft, as indicated by the timeframe given by regulators to perform the checks.”
According to aviation consultancy firm IBA, it costs around $188,000 (USD) to fix pickle fork cracks per aircraft. Qantas went on to reiterate that there was no immediate safety risk posed by cracks in the aircraft’s pickle forks.
“Qantas would never operate an aircraft unless it was completely safe to do so,” Qantas said.
Having looked at a photo of the mangled door, it is hard to imagine how they could tow the aircraft out of the hanger. This is without first checking to see that there were no obstructions in the way.
Also, the door must not have been closed properly for it to get snagged. What do you think? Please let us know in the comments.