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Alan Joyce joins the program -

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Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce joins the program to discuss the latest on the emergency landing
of a plane in Singapore today.

Transcript

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: You've no doubt heard already about the emergency landing in Singapore
today of QF32 - an A380 aircraft carrying 450 people - after one of the plane's engines appeared to
explode in mid-air.

The plane was en route to Sydney and was able to land without incident after jettisoning fuel, but
debris was scattered across Batam Island in Indonesia. Qantas has immediately grounded the rest of
its A380 fleet until an investigation is completed.

For the latest, I'm joined now by Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce.

Alan Joyce, we do now know the bare basic detail, but I know that you've been briefed from the
pilot. You've heard from the pilot on QF32. So can you take us inside the cockpit and tell us just
how they responded?

ALAN JOYCE, CEO, QANTAS: Well as you'd expect, Kerry, it was calm and collected. Our pilots are
probably some of the most experienced pilots in the world. They're trained for this event. Our
pilots go through four simulator trainings every year; they practise engine failures. In the cabin
with what would've occurred is the pilots actually would've identified at an early stage what they
suspected would have occurred. One of the pilots worked on flying the aircraft; the other pilots
then worked through the error messages that were occurring; the computer tells them that there is
problems. They work through those error messages and then the pilots would've landed the aircraft
with immediate effect, which is what they did on this occasion. And the aircraft landed safely and
there was no injuries and everybody was OK.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So as it was happening, as they're working out what it was doing, they were also
negotiating with Singapore air traffic control to land and at the same time presumably calculating
how much fuel they have to jettison?

ALAN JOYCE: They do, Kerry. What happens on this occasions, the pilots declare what we call a PAN,
which is asking for a priority landing. They could've declared a Mayday, but they regarded the
aircraft flight wasn't at sufficient danger for them to declare anything more than a PAN. Then they
took - went through their procedures. It's all checklists. They cover off the entire checklist that
they have, and as I said, they practise this four times a year in the simulator. So they're very
well-practised. We've probably got the best-trained pilots in the world.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Nothing like the real thing to focus the mind, I would've thought. But how many
engines does an A380 need to be able to stay in the air?

ALAN JOYCE: Well, the aircraft has four engines. It's capable of flying on two engines quite
successfully. So the return to base and landing the aircraft, the pilots would've done
automatically as a precaution. They want to ensure that there's no risk to the safety of flight.
And we take safety as a number one priority, so we encourage our pilots, we encourage all of our
staff to do what's needed in order to make sure that the safety of our operation is maintained.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now, when an engine malfunctions in quite this way, and it's being described as an
explosion, ...

ALAN JOYCE: Yep.

KERRY O'BRIEN: ... and clearly quite a bit of debris, some of it heavy, has flown back, has flown
back off the plane, what is the risk of that debris doing damage to the plane, like to the wing,
for instance?

ALAN JOYCE: Well this was a significant engine failure. You know, we're not underestimating the
significance of this issue. And grounding the A380 fleet is a significant issue for us. We've
looked at the safety issues involved in this and we believe that Qantas is absolutely making the
right decision in grounding the entire fleet until we understand this fully and making sure that we
can actually fly the aircraft again and that this issue will not reoccur. It looks like - it's
early stages and there's a full investigation that needs to take place. The ATSB, the Australian
authorities, are leading that investigation. And we have to ensure that we understand the reason
for this and making sure that that's not going to occur again on the aircraft before we put the
aircraft back into the air.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now, there was at least one news report from a news agency that a Qantas aircraft
had crashed. How did you react to that news?

ALAN JOYCE: Well, there was a lot of misreporting on this, Kerry, I have to say. There was
reporting that parts of wings had fallen off the aircraft, that the aircraft had crashed. What we
always do is making sure that we understand the facts. We got to the market and we got there with
our communications as fast as possible. There's always a lot of fog around these issues when they
occur, but it's very important - I think this is a great example that people don't overreact, that
people understand what the facts are before they report it, and I would encourage all the reporting
agencies to make sure that they don't jump to the gun on issues like this.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now you've automatically grounded all six A380s for an indefinite period. How
quickly will you be able to replace those planes until the A380s are back flying?

ALAN JOYCE: Well our team are working on that at the moment, Kerry. We've stopped two flights out
of LA tonight, one flight out of Sydney. We're working at accommodating all those passengers in
hotel rooms. We're working at alternative capacity to get those passengers back home and to their
destinations. You know, we have had a lot of practice at this during the volcano, and Qantas
handled itself I think very well during that period of time. We were able to look after our
passengers, our passengers became our top priority. And I think in this case, we're very much
communicating to our passengers that safety is our number one concern, that we'll only put the
aircraft back when we're absolutely sure of it, despite the commercial implications for us, because
we regard that as really important.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now I know that you're reluctant to try to put a timeframe on how long the A380s
will be grounded, but can you give just a very rough rule of thumb? Are we talking weeks or ... ?

ALAN JOYCE: Well, the process we're going through is that the ATSB are investigating it. Rolls
Royce and Airbus, we're in continuous dialogue with them. This is a relatively new aircraft with
new engines on it. This an issue for Rolls Royce and Airbus to work with us and the regulators on
it to make sure that they're comfortable that they're round other problems with this engine and
that this engine is safe to fly. And they will give us information as they go through this
investigation that will allow us to make the judgment call of when we should put the aircraft back
in the air.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now this is not the first time that the union involved in maintenance for Qantas has
been critical of Qantas' methods. They say that you cut corners, that you take a cheaper approach
these days. Now you say this is not a maintenance issue, but this aircraft has already had its
first heavy maintenance check, has it not?

ALAN JOYCE: It has. It had its first maintenance check with Lufthansa in Germany, you know, one of
the best operators in the world. But this is an engine issue and this engine has been from
manufacture maintained by Rolls Royce, the people that have manufactured it.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So your maintenance engineers aren't maintaining the engines? That's done by Rolls
Royce.

ALAN JOYCE: No, the engine has been maintained by Rolls Royce. And I think - I actually am very
disappointed with the unions involved in this, the engineering union, for them in these
circumstances to make, again, outrageous claims. They've been making a number of outrageous claims
in the past. They have proven not to be true. And Qantas still stands on its safety record. We've
got the best safety record of any major airline in the world. The issues when it comes to engine
failures: you know, we have less engine failures than any other airline. It's proven, the
statistics are there, and yet the engineer union keeps making false claims and I think it's
outrageous.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Alan Joyce, thanks for talking with us.

ALAN JOYCE: Thankyou, Kerry.