Emirates Engine Failure A Wake Up Call On Aviation Maintenance

Release date: 13/11/2012

The failure of an Emirates jet engine shortly after take-off from Sydney raises serious questions about passenger safety and the policy of conducting aircraft maintenance outside Australia. That’s according to Tony Sheldon, National Secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union.

Tony was speaking after an engine exploded on Emirates Flight EK413 from Sydney to Dubai, shortly after take off, forcing the plane to turn back to Sydney airport.

“The failure of an engine on-board an Emirates A380 bound for Dubai shortly after take-off from Sydney airport is deeply concerning. Credit must go to the flight crew who averted what could have been a major tragedy and brought the plane safely back to Sydney airport. The Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) must launch an immediate investigation to get the full facts of this incident, which raises further questions regarding airplane maintenance not conducted in Australia”, commented Tony.

“Aircraft engineers, particularly licensed engineers, working in Australia are becoming an endangered species as airlines conduct more and more of their maintenance work overseas. Just last week Qantas announced that they would be cutting 500 additional aircraft maintenance jobs across Australia, citing the requirement for less maintenance of planes. There have been a number of other potentially catastrophic incidents involving Emirates planes reported across the world in recent weeks. It seems clear that off-shoring maintenance of planes which fly in Australian airspace is not good for the travelling public and the claim that new planes need less and less maintenance is simply not the case.”

“However, it is not just off-shoring of aviation maintenance positions that is occurring. Companies like Qantas/Jetstar are also engaging in offshoring other aviation jobs such as cabin crew. The Fair Work Ombudsman is currently prosecuting Jetstar for illegally crewing domestic Australian flights with Thai flight attendants, some paid as little as $400 per month. These Thai flight attendants are being forced to work four-seven day shifts, including double and triple shift rosters on Australian domestic routes, raising serious safety and ethical concerns.”

Tony Sheldon concluded “The Australian travelling public are right to expect the best when it comes to safety in our skies. We have an enviable aviation safety record, particularly at Qantas. This must not be undermined simply to allow companies undercut and offshore Australian jobs. We are calling on the Government to introduce a level playing field for all airlines that choose to fly in Australia with the highest standards of aircraft safety and real transparency on rates of pay, conditions and security checks.

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