A Qantas aircraft has encountered an engine problem over north Queensland, forcing an unplanned return to its departure airport.
The incident occurred on the QF703 flight, which departed from Cairns to Melbourne at 2:10pm on Tuesday.
Approximately ninety minutes into the journey, the aircraft made its way back to Cairns Airport.
An airline spokesperson mentioned that the pilots had received a notification in the cockpit regarding a potential issue with one of the engines.
“The pilots followed standard procedures and requested a priority landing, but emergency services were not required and the aircraft landed safely and normally,” the spokesperson said.
“Customers will be re-accommodated as soon as possible.”
A similar incident occurred in January when Qantas flight from Fiji to Sydney was forced to turn back mid-flight as a precaution after pilots received a report of fumes in the cabin.
After taking off more than an hour late, the flight was diverted around 45 minutes into its journey. It headed back to Fiji where it landed safely around 90 minutes after departure.
Pilots on the Boeing 737 aircraft flight QF102 requested a priority – not emergency – landing.
A week earlier, a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Sydney suffered “minor engine issue” and had to turn back.
Three Qantas flights were also diverted on Friday – a QantasLink service from Melbourne to Canberra; a Boeing 737-800 from Melbourne to Sydney; and a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne.
The airline also had an aircraft forced to land with a failed engine.
‘Close proximity event’
It was also reported this week that a near-miss involving two Qantas jets at Sydney Airport is being investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).
The incident happened at 5.47pm (AEST) on April 29, when registered aircraft VH-VZM was departing for Brisbane and registered aircraft VH-VZW was arriving from Queenstown in New Zealand.
Both Boeing 737-800 planes were on the same runway, the preliminary ATSB report said.
After a previous flight had departed the runway, air traffic controllers gave the Brisbane-bound plane clearance for take-off and there was a “close proximity event” with the incoming Queenstown jet on the approach.
“The controller reportedly instructed the flight crew of VH-VZW to conduct a missed approach and then vectored the aircraft onto a diverging track,” the ATSB said.
As part of its investigation, ATSB officials will interview involved parties, examine radar, radio and flight data recordings, obtain relevant information from the operator and air traffic service provider and collect other evidence as required.
“A final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation,” the ATSB said.
“Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties, so that appropriate safety action can be taken.”
The investigation is expected to be completed later this year.
A spokesperson for Qantas said its pilots had followed instructions.
New CEO taking charge
This all comes as the airline is undergoing a change at the top of the organisation.
Incoming CEO Vanessa Hudson will be taking home an eye-watering salary, even if it’s 25 per cent lower than Alan Joyce’s.
Qantas announced on Tuesday that Hudson had been selected as CEO, beating out nearly 40 other candidates, including Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth.
Ms Hudson will make history as the first female CEO in the airline’s 103-year history.
She will become the new CEO of Qantas in November and is set to receive a base salary of $1.6 million. While this represents a significant increase from her previous position as CFO, it falls short of the $2 million base salary that current CEO Alan Joyce takes home.
Mr Joyce first assumed the role in late 2008.
Adjusted for wage inflation, Mr. Joyce’s salary equates to approximately $2.9 million as of December last year.