Singapore Airlines Grounds Three of Its A380s

Discovery of oil stains in three engines comes after positive half-year results.

Less than a week after the failure of one of the engines on a Quantas A380 flight resulted in an emergency landing, Singapore Airlines has grounded three of its own A380 aircraft. Oil stains were found during tests on the super-jumbos’ engines. The three planes, currently in London, Melbourne and Sydney, will be flown to Singapore to be fitted with new engines.

Qantas grounded its fleet of six A380s after last week’s incident on a flight from Singapore to Sydney in which debris from the engine scattered over Batam Island in Indonesia. Subsequent tests on the fleet revealed oil leaks in the turbine area of three engines on three different planes. The fleet of six remains grounded.

Rolls-Royce, the London-based aerospace company that manufactures the Trent 900 engines used on A380s used by Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa, has recommended that checks be carried out on all aircraft. Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa did so and quickly resumed flights, but Singapore, which has a total of 11 A380s in service, made a later decision to ground the three aircraft. “We apologise to our customers for flight disruptions that may result and we seek their understanding,” said Nicholas Ionides, a spokesman for Singapore Airlines.

The news coincides with the release on November 9 of Singapore Airlines Group’s unaudited financial results for the half year ending on September 30. Half-year net profit was announced as SGD 633 million (€357 million), a rapid turnaround from the SHD 466 million loss in the same period a year ago. Group revenue improved by 19% to SGD 7,097 million on continued recovery of load factors and yields.

“Advance bookings for the coming months indicate that demand is holding up,” the report said. “This should support an increase of 5% in passenger capacity in the second half of the financial year. Yields are expected to be steady.” However, the report cautioned: “Forward prices for jet fuel are high and volatile. There is continuing volatility in the currency markets due to challenges faced by the global economy. Given these uncertainties, the positive outlook for the second half of the financial year has to be tempered with some caution.”

The Guardian