Qantas warns it is set to sue Rolls-Royce

QANTAS reserved the right to sue engine supplier Rolls-Royce yesterday for damages related to the failure of an engine on one of its Airbus A380 aircraft. But the airline stressed it was still keen to come to a commercial settlement with the engine maker.

Qantas filed a claim in Australia’s Federal Court over the financial and commercial impact of the failure of a Roll-Royce Trent 900 engine on 4 November, which forced an Airbus A380 bound for Sydney to make an emergency landing in Singapore with 466 people on board.

“Today’s action allows Qantas to keep all options available to the company to recover losses, as a result of the grounding of the A380 fleet and the operational constraints currently imposed on A380 services,” the airline said.

“The airline has today filed a statement of claim ... [to] ensure that the company can pursue legal action against Rolls-Royce ... if a commercial settlement is not possible.”

Qantas said the claim did not include a specific figure as it was still assessing the damage.

A firm estimate on the damages may still be months away as Qantas does not yet know when it can return the aircraft to service or when Rolls-Royce can fully solve the issues.

But analysts estimated the damages could be between AS$26m (£16.28m) and AS$60m – in addition to the US$70m that one insurance company has predicted it will cost to fix the plane.

Earlier in the day the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) told airlines using the Trent 900 engine – including Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa – to conduct further checks after it identified a potential manufacturing defect which it said could lead to oil fire and engine failure.

“The problem relates to the potential for misaligned oil pipe counter-boring, which could lead to fatigue cracking, oil leakage and potential engine failure from an oil fire,” the ATSB said.

The new checks come just days after Qantas resumed flying two of its A380s on a limited basis.
The remaining four planes are still undergoing checks.