The Australian Qantas Airways is the third airline to operate the Airbus A380 doubledecker aircraft, but the first one to be forced to temporarily withdraw all three of its A380 fleet from service.
On 2nd of March, 2009 Qantas had no A380s in service for a short period of time – all 3 aircraft having to be removed from operations due to unrelated fuel system problems. The first mega-jumbo of the Australian airline (named Nancy-Bird Walton) had technical troubles back in Sydney on Saturday (February 28) when it was delayed 19 hours (!) before taking off for London Heathrow. On the return trip, the aircraft suffered a fuel leak and passengers were transferred to a Boeing 747-400 – 12 hours later. Engineers in London fixed the fuel leak and the A380 was back in service by late Tuesday.
The other two A380s (pictured here above) had a different fuel system issue and were removed from service at the same time. Qantas has stated that two A380s were declared unserviceable with a ‘”fuel tank indication system problem”. They also returned to service on Tuesday after the fixes were made in Sydney. According to ATWOnline, “the issue related to the Fuel Quantity Indicating System (FQIS) and some microbiological contamination, which resulted in faulty FQIS readings.”
The introduction of the Airbus A380 is still referred to as the best entry into service of any aircraft with Australia’s national airline.
Since entering service in October 2007, the 13 A380s flying with Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qantas have flown 31,750 hours and 3,300 revenue flights, with 97.8% leaving on time. There were only a few, minor incidents earlier at Singapore Airlines.