Mark Baker/AP

Qantas Investigation Highlights Airline Safety Concerns

July 28, 2008 08:00 AM
by Rachel Balik
As authorities begin investigation into a recent explosion on a Qantas jet, concerns about thorough safety inspections are raised.

30-Second Summary

Officials will begin a comprehensive investigation to determine what caused the loud noise and ensuing hole in the side of a Qantas 747 jet. Although reports claim that engineers discovered a large amount of corrosion in the jet earlier this year, authorities have ruled out corrosion as a possible cause and believe the hole was created by some kind of explosion.

A missing oxygen tank on board the jet leads authorities to believe it may have exploded during flight, but the explosion is not thought to be the result of terrorism. “This is being treated as a safety investigation,” an investigator from the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau said.

Although no one on board was injured, oxygen masks did not come down for many of the passengers, raising concerns about the airline’s safety inspections. One passenger reported that the man in front of him had to forcefully break open the ceiling panel in order to get his oxygen mask, and that many children did not have one. "Their cheeks and lips were turning blue from lack of oxygen,” he said.

Meanwhile, senior Qantas employees have expressed fears that lower safety standards are to blame. In order to cut costs, plane maintenance checks have been outsourced to Malaysia. “Qantas outsourcing maintenance to Malaysia is certainly worrying a lot of us pilots. There has been aircraft come back with dodgy staples to secure wiring,” a senior Qantas pilot said.

Headline Links: ‘Qantas jumbo investigation continues’

Background: Qantas jet forced into emergency landing

Opinion & Analysis: Pilot blames outsourcing

Related Topic: Airlines accused of compromising safety to cut costs


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