A380’s forced landing hurts Rolls-Royce

SHARES in Rolls-Royce, the aircraft engine maker and European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS), the parent company of Airbus fell sharply yesterday after Qantas grounded its entire fleet of A380s after an engine failure forced one of its aircraft into an emergency landing in Singapore.

Qantas grounded the aircraft immediately after the superjumbo carrying 459 passengers and 29 crew was forced to land.

Passengers reported hearing a “massive bang” before the aircraft turned back and Indonesian TV showed pictures of debris on the ground near Batam airport, which it said belonged to the plane.

Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, said the Airbus 380, which had originally flew from London suffered a significant failure on one of its engines shortly after it left Singapore on route to Sydney. The airline has opened an investigation into what happened but in the meantime was taking no risks, he said. Qantas has six Airbus A380s, and three A380 flights were scheduled for yesterday, one originating in Sydney and two in Los Angeles, all of which were scrapped.

The move also prompted Singapore Airlines to ground its fleet in order to carry out similar checks to those being carried out by Qantas.

Shares in Rolls-Royce closed 4.8 per cent down in London at 622p, while EADS stock closed down 3.3 per cent €17.57 in Paris.

Rolls-Royce responded to the incident by saying that it was already working with investigators to understand what had happened “As always the safe operation of our products is our number one priority,” it added.

The incident is one of the most serious for the Airbus in three years of service.