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Engine problem grounds superjumbos

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Singapore Airlines is taking three of its Airbus A380 superjumbos out of service to make “precautionary changes” to the planes’ Rolls-Royce engines.

The move follows the discovery of oil staining on one engine of each of the three grounded planes.

Australian carrier Qantas had earlier grounded all six of its A380s following the explosion of a Rolls-Royce engine on a Qantas superjumbo flight which had just taken off from Singapore.

Qantas, whose pilots were praised for getting the stricken superjumbo safely back to Singapore, said tests had uncovered oil leaks in three engines on its A380s.

One of the now-grounded Singapore Airlines’ superjumbos had been due to fly passengers from Heathrow to Singapore.

The plane flew with no passengers to Singapore and the airline is making alternative arrangements to get the passengers away on another flight.

One of the other now-grounded A380s flew empty from Melbourne to Singapore, while the third flew, with passengers, from Singapore to Sydney. All three planes will have engine-replacement work done in Singapore.

Rolls-Royce, whose Trent 900 engines power the superjumbos of Lufthansa as well as Qantas and Singapore Airlines, has recommended a series of checks on the engines.

Singapore Airlines said: “Based on further analysis of inspection findings as the investigation into last week’s incident involving another operator’s Airbus A380 is progressing, Singapore Airlines will be carrying out precautionary engine changes on three A380s. We apologise to our customers for flight disruptions that may result and we seek their understanding.”

The precautionary engine changes do not affect Singapore’s eight other A380s at this stage.

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