ABU DHABI // A Qantas A380 travelling from Dubai to Sydney was forced to make an emergency landing in Perth on Monday.
The airline said Flight QF2 was diverted due to a fault with the cabin air system, which occurred an hour outside Perth.
“It’s standard procedure to descend quickly in these circumstances,” said Captain Mike Galvin, Qantas’ head of flying operations. “And at no stage was the safety of the aircraft or passengers at risk.”
To maintain the conditions of the cabin, the airline said the captain made a controlled descent from 39,000 to 10,000 feet and requested a priority landing.
“The aircraft landed safely and is being inspected by engineers,” Qantas said in a statement. “As the crew reached their maximum duty limits before the issue could be fixed on the ground, customers were provided with overnight accommodation.”
Some customers were booked on scheduled services to Sydney on Monday, with the majority departing on an extra B747 flight that the company operated at 2.30pm local time (6.30am UAE time). “The controlled descent took approximately five minutes and was announced by the captain to passengers and cabin crew,” Qantas said. “The flight landed in Perth at 1.18am.”
Passengers on the flight immediately took to Twitter to report air conditioning problems and emergency vehicles on the runway as a precaution.
“Crew calm and reassuring but some very nervous passengers on board,” tweeted Nigel Richardson. “Full shut down of air conditioning system that keeps plane pressurised at altitude was the problem.”
Other tweets mentioned a Qantas flight to Dallas which was forced to turn back to Sydney due to “electrical issues” while The Guardian also reported on Monday a Qantas flight bound for Karratha which had to return to Perth after cabin crew noticed an unusual smell.
In 2010, a Qantas A380 made a dramatic forced landing in Singapore, trailing smoke from a blackened engine. It had experienced major engine trouble just six minutes into a flight from Singapore to Sydney and dumped fuel over Indonesia before returning to Changi Airport in Singapore.
Earlier that year, another Qantas A380 suffered damaged tyres upon landing in Sydney from Singapore, showering sparks.
The airline, however, topped the world’s safest list last year issued by airlineratings.com. It has been fatality free since 1951.
Qantas A380s are powered by Rolls-Royce engines.