17 August 2008

Qantas -- Safe or Not?

The story goes that the national press is always harder on the national flag carrier than it is on other airlines. Yet, in the case of Qantas (photo) then perhaps this increased glare of the spotlight is warranted considering the consistent failures logged over the last month or so. For an airline that has prided itself on its safety record while allowing its service standards to slip. I must admit that I have not flown Qantas in years, and the reason for this was that their service was less than expected.

However, on with the safety issues. Qantas is taking a bit of a hammering of late as the list of failures grows ever-longer. The most recent of these "events" includes a Perth bound 737-300 making an unscheduled toilet stop in Adelaide on its way from Sydney. It seems that the ground staff had forgotten to empty out the bowels of the plane and consequently mid-flight things went all to crap. I guess this is both in the literal and figurative senses of the word.

After the delay the flight continued on its merry way.

The second "event" was the delay to the QF2 flight out of London. which was delayed some 15 hours because of a broken rudder. I guess though this was not a mid air which is probably a relief for the passengers that were taking this flight.

These two "events" follow a string of other incidents including a mid-air explosion that forced a plane to divert to Manila in the Philippines, a hydraulic leak that forced a plane to divert to Brisbane, and the loss of a panel from a plane in flight that was not discovered until the plane landed at its destination.

The best is yet to come as a drunken Qantas flight attendant fell against a fire alarm in a hotel in New Zealand that caused a full-scale evacuation of the hotel in the wee hours of the morning. The flight attendant has since resigned. Another flight attendant from the same flight refused to take a breath test before boarding the plane and was stood down from the flight. This served to delay the flight for several hours as a new crew was flown in to cover for their drunk and embarrassed colleagues.

I guess people will have to draw their own conclusions on this expanding list of events.

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