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Qantas Statement on Preliminary ATSB Report

Sydney, 14 November 2008

Qantas said today that its own investigations confirmed the findings of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's (ATSB) preliminary report into the QF72 event in October, that the likely cause was a manufacturer fault involving a flight system computer component.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said the new Airbus procedures, which had been issued worldwide to all airline operators of the A330 aircraft type following the incident, had been distributed to all Qantas pilots, with additional simulator training already well advanced.

"Qantas pilot training is amongst the best in the world, which is why our flight crew were able to respond to what Airbus has indicated was a unique event so quickly and with such skill," Mr Dixon said.

He said information included in the ATSB's preliminary, included:
* a fault with one of three air data inertial reference units (ADIRUs) resulted in the aircraft performing the two uncommanded pitch-down movements;
* there was no structural damage to the aircraft.

Mr Dixon said the A330-300 aircraft involved in the QF72 incident remained in Sydney, and that:
* the faulty ADIRU, which had been replaced before the aircraft departed Learmonth, was being examined by the manufacturer as part of the ATSB investigation; and
* refurbishment work on the aircraft's interiors was continuing to prepare the aircraft for return to service.

He said Qantas continued to offer support to passengers who were onboard QF72, including covering ongoing costs of medical care for those who were injured and providing access to an independent counselling service.

"We understand that some passengers may wish to seek compensation beyond the assistance we are already providing, and will of course be assessing all such requests," he said.

Mr Dixon said Qantas' reputation for safety remained the airline's top priority.

"The two serious incidents we have had this year - QF72 in Western Australia and the depressurisation incident on QF30 in July that resulted in a diversion to Manila - involved rare circumstances associated with manufacture and equipment design issues that were entirely beyond Qantas' control.

"We are proud of the fact that in both cases, our crew landed the aircraft safely and without further incident."

Mr Dixon said the B747-400 involved in the Manila diversion had returned to Australia this week.

"Repairs to the aircraft were undertaken in Manila by Boeing in association with Qantas and supported by Lufthansa Technik," he said.

"Further work will now be done in Australia and, subject to the usual certification processes by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, we expect it to return to service in the next few weeks."

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3849)
Email: qantasmedia@qantas.com.au