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Qantas Engine Failures: Oil Leaks to Blame?

By Laura Strachan, Esq. on November 08, 2010 11:45 AM

Qantas Airbus A380 was only three minutes into a flight departing Sydney, Australia when the plane began to spew pieces of metal, and was forced to make an emergency landing. The culprit for the Qantas engine failures may be oil leaks. The Qantas Airbus A380, the world's newest and largest commercial airliner, has had multiple mechanical issues in recent days as worries about flight safety continue to grow.

"We believe this is most likely the product of material failures or some type of design issue. We don't believe this is related to maintenance in any way," said Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce in a recent news conference. Qantas engines have been manufactured and maintained by luxury car maker Rolls-Royce since they were installed.

Amid concerns that other six Qantas engines may have similar oil leak problems, all aircrafts will be grounded pending a thorough inspection, according to the Seattle Times.

Qantas officials are choosing their words carefully, as liability could become an issue if anyone is injured due as a result of these mechanical issues.

There are two basic types of products liability defects: design and manufacturing. In claiming that the cause of the Qantas engine failure was the result of a design or construction flaw, officials may be indicating that the problem lies in the actual design of the engine, rather than anything that was done in the actual production of a product. The inquiry in a design defect case concerns the manufacturer's plans and designs in producing a product, rather than how a manufacturer put a given item together.

No injuries have yet been reported, but if need be Qantas could conceivably bring a potential products liability suit against Rolls-Royce if it can show a feasible alternative design was available.

Qantas continues to insist that rectifying the problem is their number one priority.

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