Plane serviced in HK before flight aborted

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 November, 2008, 12:00am

A Qantas airliner forced to land with an engine fault two days ago had been serviced in Hong Kong last week, a spokeswoman for the servicing company confirmed yesterday.

Aviation sources told The Sydney Morning Herald that the engine starter motor of the Airbus A330 sheared off because no oil had been put into the motor after its overhaul.

David Cox, the executive general manager of Qantas Engineering, said: 'Initial inspections by engineers indicate that the fault with the engine starter motor could have led to the engine oil problem.'

The airliner, carrying 168 passengers bound for Singapore, had to return to Perth after an engine oil warning flashed in the cockpit and the flight crew shut down the problem engine. A replacement airliner took off after a near-five-hour delay.

The Airbus received a four-day routine check at the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company (Haeco) base at Chek Lap Kok airport, a Haeco spokeswoman said.

It was a 'basic servicing but not a heavy check', she said, and the aircraft had passed an inspection before being returned to Qantas.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia, Peter Gibson, confirmed that the malfunction had originated in the starter motor and that the oil supply was being looked at.

'CASA has been kept fully informed of the incident by Qantas and will be closely monitoring Qantas' investigation of the event,' he said.

The Haeco spokeswoman said the company had contacted Qantas, which had given it no details of the incident.