INCIDENT | Fumes in cabin: Qantas flight forced to turn back to Fiji

A Qantas flight bound for Sydney has been forced to turn back to Fiji as a precaution after pilots were alerted to fumes in the cabin.

Early investigations suggest the fumes were related to an oven in the aircraft galley, but engineers will now assess the aircraft, which landed safely in Nadi on Sunday evening.

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It is the fifth turnback in an ill-fated week for the airline, which also saw a sixth aircraft forced to land with a failed engine.

Qantas domestic chief executive Andrew David has moved to reassure customers, stressing mechanical issues are common across the complicated industry, and individual faults must be looked at in context.

Passengers on the QF102 flight which returned to Fiji on Sunday are being re-accommodated by the airline after the Boeing 737 (Reg. VH-VZT) made a priority landing in Nadi.

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Qantas confirmed no passengers were affected by the fumes, which dissipated quickly.

On Wednesday, a Qantas flight travelling to Sydney from Auckland suffered an engine failure, resulting in a temporary mayday call.

On Thursday, a Qantas flight to Fiji was forced to return to Sydney airport after the Boeing 737-800’s fault indicators signalled a potential mechanical issue.

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A further three flights were diverted on Friday.

They included a QantasLink service from Melbourne to Canberra after an issue with the aircraft’s flaps were observed, a Boeing 737-800 bound for Sydney from Melbourne, after pilots were alerted to a minor engine issue, and a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne was forced to abort takeoff after receiving a fault indication while on the runway.

The Qantas Group averages around 60 air turnbacks per year – or one every six days – out of more than 10,000 across the total industry.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority released a statement supporting the airline on Friday.

“The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is confident Qantas is operating safely and has confidence in its safety management systems,” it said.

“CASA actively reviews and monitors the aviation industry, using regular surveillance, frequent engagement with airlines to review incidents and trends and works closely with the ATSB to scrutinise safety reports, findings and data.”

Source: The Sunday Morning Herald - edited by Aero News Journal

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