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Qantas May Sue Rolls-Royce over Engine Failure

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The New York Times reports Qantas has taken the initial steps toward bringing legal action against Rolls-Royce, the engine manufacturer for the Airbus A380. Last month, an engine on one of Qantas' A380s exploded shortly after take-off. The plane made a safe and smooth landing, but Qantas grounded its six A380s immediately while it investigated the explosion. Qantas has since resumed some A380 service.

According to the Times, "The preliminary action, filed in Australian federal court, allows Qantas the option of pursuing legal action if the airline is not satisfied with a compensation offer from the European engine maker."

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The Times also reports investigators determined the cause of the explosion—an oil leak— and described how the explosion progressed. "Both Australian and European investigators have issued preliminary findings suggesting that the Nov. 4 engine explosion that hurled chunks of metal into the jetliner's left wing and fuselage, leading to electrical and hydraulic failure, was caused by an oil leak and subsequent oil fire that caused one of the turbines to splinter and shear off the aircraft."

Not all A380s use the Rolls-Royce engine. Eighteen planes, operated by Air France and Emirates, use a different model. Twenty-one aircraft use the Rolls-Royce engine in question.

Rolls-Royce has not commented on Qantas' legal moves, but reports suggest the company has set aside funds to cover the potential proceedings and/or settlement.

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