Aviation

The Truth about Qantas’ “Perfect” Safety Record

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Qantas is said to be one of the safest airlines in the world, as they have never had a hull loss of an aircraft. But is measuring the hull loss of aircraft a true measure of a safety record?

Many of us know about many incidents that Qantas aircraft have been involved in.
Qantas 32 was a scheduled flight between London Heathrow and Sydney (via Singapore). Four minutes after it had taken off from Singapore Changi Airport, the aircraft had an uncontained engine failure. The aircraft returned for landing, and no one was injured or killed.

Qantas 72 caused spinal and other serious injuries to 11 passengers and one crew member. And also minor injuries to another 99 passengers and 8 crew members when the autopilot on an A330 caused uncommanded pitch down maneuvers.

There are also many other incidents Qantas has been involved in. More articles here

But Qantas Flight 1 sees Qantas pay millions to save their Safety Record.

Qantas 1, a flight between Sydney and London (via Bangkok). The 747-400 (VH-OJH) overran the runway on landing at Don Mueang International Airport. This was caused by Pilot Error aggravated by bad weather and also Hydroplaning.

The aircraft’s nose and right wing landing gear collapsed. The nose gear was forced back into the fuselage. The aircraft slid along in a nose-down, right wing low attitude, causing some further damage to the nose and damage to the two right engines and their mountings. The intrusion of the nose landing gear also caused the failure of the cabin intercom and public address system.

The damage was so bad that the aircraft was a write-off. But to save Qantas’ reputation as an airline without a hull loss, they spent over $100 million AUD on repairing the aircraft. The aircraft eventually returned to service, and Qantas kept its safety record.

Was it acceptable for Qantas to do this?

VH-OJH was a write-off, and most other airlines would have removed it from their service and sent it to a scrap yard. It’s not like the aircraft was new at the time, it was nearly 10 years old. In 2012 the aircraft was retired from Qantas’ fleet, 13 years after the accident. Many airlines wouldn’t have spent the money Qantas did on repairing such an aircraft. But clearly, their safety record is worth millions to keep.

When airline ratings are given by websites, Qantas is always said to be one of the safest airlines in the world. Is this fair towards other airlines? Well not really. Other airlines may not have had that amount of money to spend if the accident was theirs. So Qantas may be unfairly awarded these Safest Airline awards in the eyes of others.

© CASA/ATSB

Comment below your thoughts and comments regarding Qantas’ “Perfect” Safety Record status.

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2 Comments

  1. This is why most people say airplanes are safer than cars and motorcycles, car accidents and motorcycle accidents often happen a lot. There have been over 5,000 fatalities caused by car accidents and motorcycle accidents while the worst aircraft incident is about 500 deaths, which is still nowhere near the death rate of 5,000 to 6,000. One single airplane crash equals up to thousands and thousands of car accidents, and most airplane crashes mostly happen during take off and landing, even if airplanes get into accidents, the death rate nearly zero fatalities. Most aircraft spend most of their time in the air ever since that airspace is so massively large, making it much more difficult to get into accidents, which is why mid-air mishaps are so rare, they can still happen sometimes but they usually do not happen often at all.

  2. Thought safety records were based on fatalities not hull loses, so Qantas wins again. Compared to other first World airlines such as Air France they do look after their hulls and passengers.

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