Jumbo jet forced to make emergency landing on flight to London
A superjumbo carrying more than 250 passengers was forced to make an unscheduled landing after suffering midair engine problems, airline officials said today.
The Qantas Airbus A380 was four hours into a flight from Singapore to London when oil problems caused the flight crew to shut down one of the plane's four engines.
Flight QF31 was diverted to Dubai and flew with three engines for about two and half hours before landing safely.
None of the 258 passengers or 25 crew were hurt, a Qantas spokeswoman said.
The incident comes a year to the day since the engine of another Qantas A380 blew up over Singapore.
It is believed one of the passengers on board the London-bound plane was British actor, writer and comedian Stephen Fry. He tweeted: "Bugger. Forced to land in Dubai. An engine has decided not to play."
Qantas said the superjumbo had suffered a problem with oil pressure in its number four engine, describing the incident as a "one off".
The airline spokeswoman confirmed it was not the same A380 that was involved in last year's incident, adding that the timing of today's problem was a "coincidence".
"Obviously, it will be a priority of ours to work out what the particular problem is in this engine," she added.
The airline said it is working to arrange alternative flights to take the passengers on to London.
Qantas grounded its Airbus fleet for more than a fortnight last year after the midair explosion over Singapore, caused by a faulty pipe in the Rolls Royce engines.
Last weekend the airline grounded its entire fleet as a result of an ongoing battle with the unions.
Fry later wrote: "I think plan is to bus us to the transit lounge and await International Rescue. This plane, the crew tell me, is going nowhere."
He added: "So either Sydney send another one out or they come to an accommodation with Emirates. Either way not a great week for #qantas!"
The 54-year-old also posted a picture of an apology letter given by the airline to the stricken passengers, which warned passengers they faced "an extended delay".
It stated that mandatory inspections by engineers were "expected to take a number of hours".
The letter added: "Our team in Sydney are presently rebooking you to an alternative carrier to get you to your destination as quickly as possible.
"However, as flights from Dubai to Europe are heavily booked, there will be an extended delay in transit.
"Additionally, there is a critical accommodation shortage in Dubai due to the Eid Al Adha public holiday, and we have been unsuccessful in sourcing hotel rooms.
"We understand this diversion will have a significant impact on your plans and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused."
Fry also wrote several angry messages about leaving his wallet on the plane, but it was later returned to him.
He was flying back to the UK after touring Australia with the television show QI.