The Truth about Qantas’ “Perfect” Safety Record

Qantas is said to be one of the safest airlines in the world, as they have never had a hull loss of an aircraft. But is measuring the hull loss of aircraft a true measure of a safety record?

Many of us know about many incidents that Qantas aircraft have been involved in.
Qantas 32 was a scheduled flight between London Heathrow and Sydney (via Singapore). Four minutes after it had taken off from Singapore Changi Airport, the aircraft had an uncontained engine failure. The aircraft returned for landing, and no one was injured or killed.

vh oqa fig7 - Travel Radar - Aviation News

Qantas 72 caused spinal and other serious injuries to 11 passengers and one crew member. And also minor injuries to another 99 passengers and 8 crew members when the autopilot on an A330 caused uncommanded pitch down maneuvers.

There are also many other incidents Qantas has been involved in. More articles here

But Qantas Flight 1 sees Qantas pay millions to save their Safety Record.

Qantas 1, a flight between Sydney and London (via Bangkok). The 747-400 (VH-OJH) overran the runway on landing at Don Mueang International Airport. This was caused by Pilot Error aggravated by bad weather and also Hydroplaning.

Qantas Flight 1 Crashed 3 - Travel Radar - Aviation News

The aircraft’s nose and right wing landing gear collapsed. The nose gear was forced back into the fuselage. The aircraft slid along in a nose-down, right wing low attitude, causing some further damage to the nose and damage to the two right engines and their mountings. The intrusion of the nose landing gear also caused the failure of the cabin intercom and public address system.

The damage was so bad that the aircraft was a write-off. But to save Qantas’ reputation as an airline without a hull loss, they spent over $100 million AUD on repairing the aircraft. The aircraft eventually returned to service, and Qantas kept its safety record.

Was it acceptable for Qantas to do this?

VH-OJH was a write-off, and most other airlines would have removed it from their service and sent it to a scrap yard. It’s not like the aircraft was new at the time, it was nearly 10 years old. In 2012 the aircraft was retired from Qantas’ fleet, 13 years after the accident. Many airlines wouldn’t have spent the money Qantas did on repairing such an aircraft. But clearly, their safety record is worth millions to keep.

When airline ratings are given by websites, Qantas is always said to be one of the safest airlines in the world. Is this fair towards other airlines? Well not really. Other airlines may not have had that amount of money to spend if the accident was theirs. So Qantas may be unfairly awarded these Safest Airline awards in the eyes of others.


Comment below your thoughts and comments regarding Qantas’ “Perfect” Safety Record status.

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Jake Smith
Jake Smith
Director of Special Projects - Jake is an experienced aviation journalist and strategic leader, regularly contributing to the commercial aviation section of Travel Radar alongside leading strategy and innovation including livestreaming and our store.



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