Sunday, October 06, 2013

Qantas confident of Dreamliners

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce says he's comfortable that new Boeing 787 Dreamliners being delivered to budget carrier Jetstar are extremely safe despite some reliability issues.

Jetstar's first high-tech jet for international routes are due to be delivered to Melbourne on Wednesday, only weeks after budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle demanded Boeing take back a plane and fix a faulty hydraulic pump after only 30 days in service.

Visiting Boeing's factory in Seattle, Mr Joyce said the aerospace giant had worked closely with Boeing engineers to pinpoint possible problems.

"It's important to distinguish reliability from safety. Sometimes in people's minds they can be really concerned," he told Australian journalists.

"Reliability in new aircraft takes a while to get up there. It's not a safety issue.

"We're very comfortable this is an extremely safe aircraft."

Boeing 787 vice president and general manager Larry Loftis said the ambition to build the most technologically advanced aircraft in five decades had been a logistical challenge since production began in 2007.

"From a reliability standpoint ... we're working to make sure the airplane continually improves and becomes more and more reliable," he told reporters.

"We put a lot of new technology in this aircraft and over-estimated the ability to bring this new technology to market in the time frame to which we committed."

The Dreamliner is 20 percent more fuel efficient than comparable wide-bodied aircraft with about 300 seats. It uses carbon fibre composite graphite instead of traditional aluminum.

But 50 Dreamliner jets were grounded globally in January when lithium-ion batteries caught fire on two Japanese airlines.

They returned to the skies in April but an emergency transmitter on a Boeing 787 caught fire at London's Heathrow airport in July on an Ethiopian Airlines plane.

Qantas has ordered 14 Boeing 787s for Jetstar, which are being delivered until late 2015.

The Dreamliner deliveries will enable Qantas to take 11 Airbus A330s from Jetstar as part of a plan to retire older, fuel-burning Boeing 767s.

Mr Joyce said the lighter Dreamliners would reduce fuel costs in the Qantas group, and help enable the airline to have an even younger fleet than Singapore Airlines "in the next couple of years which we haven't seen in a long time".

Jetstar expects to begin commercial flights abroad the Dreamliner in November, with limited domestic flights for test purposes, following testing by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority in Australia.


Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A310-300, AP-BEC, Flight PK-213

ISLAMABAD / STOCKHOLM / ISLAMABAD / KARACHI: A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilot safely landed an Airbus A-310 aircraft after one of its engines caught fire minutes after takeoff from Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, on Sunday night. 

 The plane carrying 54 passengers and eight crew members departed for Dubai at 10:10pm but just 15 minutes later the pilot informed the control tower about an engine fire and requested permission for emergency landing.

“The pilot of the airplane, Captain Jarar, did a fine job in putting into action all the years of his training,” said Captain Junaid Yunus, the national air carrier’s managing director. “This is exactly what we train on simulators every six months. Landing on one engine is part of the drill.”

The incident was widely reported on national news channels and footage of a burning object in the backdrop of a black sky sent panic waves among people. Sound of a huge blast added to the anxiety.

“We all heard the blast and  rushed to the rooftop. We could see the plane in flames until it disappeared,” said Naseem Ahmed, a retired air force official, who lives near Shahrah-e-Faisal.

The fire, which erupted in the right engine of the A-310, had been subdued even before landing. Every plane has an inbuilt fire-fighting mechanism to deal with such situations.

Junaid Yunus said the huge sound was caused by a sudden vacuum, which was created as the engine stopped working and not because it burst.

“These are high-powered engines. When the engine stalls and air stops passing through, there is a gap in air mass and that is what causes a loud noise.”

Another PIA official said that none of the passengers or crew members was injured. The airline was making arrangements for the passengers on a 1:00am flight to Dubai till filing of this report.

PIA has been struggling to get its A-310s out of operations as it faces difficulty in financing repairs.

ISLAMABAD, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- A Dubai-bound passenger plane of Pakistan International Airlines with at least 54 people on-board made an emergency landing after its engine caught fire shortly after it took off from Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi on Sunday night, local media and officials said.

An official from Civil Aviation Authority Abid Qaimkhawani said that the incident took place few minutes after the Airbus A310 took off from the Jinnah International Airport of Karachi at 10:20 p.m. local time.

An eyewitness told local media that an explosion was first heard at one of the engines of the plane, followed by a fire.

The huge explosion and the fire spread panic among the residents of the areas nearby the airport.

The pilot of the plane contacted the control tower for an emergency landing following the incident.

The authorities declared emergency at the airport by calling security personnel and rescue teams including medics and fire fighters at the runway.

The PIA plane with flight number PK213 remained hovering over the airport for about five minutes before it was allowed to land at the airport, said the local media.

The pilot discharged part of the plane's fuel before the emergency landing to avoid any further big fire, said local media.

According to airport authorities, all the 54 passengers remained unhurt and were taken out of the plane safely.

Engineers of the Civil Aviation Authority were called in to examine the plane while an inquiry was also launched to know the reasons of the incident.

PIA,the flagship airline in Pakistan, has been suffering for years due to the lack of funds. According to the reports, two- thirds of the planes run by the company have reportedly been in service for more than two decades and faced frequent problems.