Qantas result impress; Airbus finds A350 fault

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed August 25, 2017 09:24

Qantas result impress; Airbus finds A350 fault

Today, Qantas continued its positive run with the announcement of its full year 2017 results. With an underlying profit before tax of $1.401bn for the 12 months ended 30 June 2017, this is the second highest performance in the airline’s 97-year history, even though this represents an 8.5% decline compared to the previous year.

Qantas states that all parts of the Group delivered strong returns in FY17, with Qantas and Jetstar domestic earnings reaching a record $865 million underlying EBIT. Qantas International, posted an underlying EBIT of $327 million.

CEO Alan Joyce credits the Qantas Transformation Program for these results.

“Three years ago, we started an ambitious turnaround program to make the Qantas Group strong and profitable. We tackled some difficult structural issues, became a lot more efficient and kept improving customer service,” said Joyce. “Today’s announcements show this plan has well-and-truly paid off. It’s delivered $3.5 billion in cumulative underlying profit, record customer satisfaction and the opportunity for Qantas to grow.”

Qantas has also revealed plans to upgrade its 12 A380 cabins and it is also investigating direct flights from the east coast of Australia to London and New York by 2022. This would involve purchasing new longer-range aircraft.

Joyce said: “From next year we’ll be flying direct from Perth to London, which is a huge leap forward. We believe advances in technology in the next few years will make Sydney to London direct a possibility and Qantas is well placed to be the airline to do it.” He added: “Any aircraft purchase would have to meet strict financial thresholds, but these direct flights would be revolutionary for air travel in Australia.”

Meanwhile, earlier this week the European Safety Agency (EASA) issued an emergency air worthiness directive for all serial numbers of the Airbus A350-941 aircraft after Airbus discovered an anomaly concerning its hydraulic systems. The manufacturer discovered an overheat failure mode of the A350 hydraulic Engine Driven Pump (EDP). Such EDP failure may cause a fast temperature rise of the hydraulic fluid. As the hydraulic fluid cooling system is located in the fuel tanks, the AD warns that the condition, if not detected and corrected, combined with an inoperative Fuel Tank Inerting System (FTIS), could lead to an “uncontrolled overheat of the hydraulic fluid, possibly resulting in ignition of the fuel-air mixture in the affected fuel tank”.  To address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus issued a Major Event Revision of the Airbus A350 Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) (the MMEL determines the extent to which certain systems must be operative before flight) that incorporates restrictions to avoid an uncontrolled overheat of the hydraulic system. The AD requires implementation of those Airbus A350 MMEL changes and, consequently, restrictions for aeroplane dispatch.

Airbus states that all of the aircraft already in service “continue to be safely operated in accordance with the guidance of the AD” and that going forward and in line with the continued airworthiness process to mitigate any risk to safe operation, “Airbus’ experts are working short-term on an easy retrofit-able software fix to the monitoring and control system.”

As an additional statement, Airbus comments that when ADs like these are issued, it shows “that the industry’s process of maintaining Continuous Airworthiness is working as it should. A benefit of this process is that any potential issues are detected, mitigated and communicated to all operators so that aircraft safety is assured.”

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed August 25, 2017 09:24