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Monday, 11 November 1991
Page: 2797

Senator MAGUIRE —I refer the Minister for Shipping and Aviation Support to the crash of a Boeing 767 aircraft in Thailand earlier this year and to suggestions that one engine may have gone into reverse thrust while the aircraft was in flight. Have any modifications been made since that time to Boeing 767 aircraft operated by Australia's domestic or international airlines?

Senator COLLINS —As all honourable senators will know, Senator Maguire assiduously pursues questions relating to aircraft safety in Australia, and I commend him for it. I have been given some advice by the Civil Aviation Authority on this matter. I am advised by the CAA that there are no Australian Boeing 767 aircraft with the same engine-airframe combination as was involved in the Thai accident in May this year. However, there was initial precautionary action taken in the form of an airworthiness directive taken by the United States Federal Aviation Administration on 16 August which involved the deactivation of thrust reversers on these aircraft. By Civil Aviation Authority agreement with Qantas Airways Ltd, eight of the Qantas Boeing 767-300 aircraft were temporarily modified.

  However, further investigation into the accident revealed that in the systems of other types of engine such as General Electric, as are used in Qantas aircraft, and Rolls-Royce, the deployment of the thrust reversers in flight could not occur. Subsequently, the original United States FAA requirement for these engine types was rescinded and the thrust reversers in Qantas aircraft have now been returned to normal operation. The Australian Civil Aviation Authority is maintaining a very close watching brief on the situation in case of any matters of relevance to Australian domestic or overseas carriers.