After the Qantas A380 engine failure, all Trent-powered A380s were grounded.1

After the Air France A380 engine failure, the GP7200-powered A380 fleet was not grounded.

Why were these two incidents handled differently? And what are the primary drivers for grounding a fleet?


The one that decided to ground the fleet was Qantas. Qantas was having a new airplane model and potentially made a trade-off between having a not known design flaw and keep flying and the risk. At that time the A380 entered in service three years before and around 20 aircraft were in service with a mix of engines.

Today, there are 200 A/C in service for 10 years. The possibility of having a design flaw or an unknown problem is really low.

It was not a airworthiness directive as the directive was created 2 months after in January 2011. Qantas starting to get back in service the airplanes on 27th November (incident was on 4th Novemeber)

  • $\begingroup$ It depends what the root cause was (and we don't know yet, for the GP7200 incident). For example, a fundamental design flaw is one thing, but some klutz mixing up the part numbers and using the wrong type of bolts or the wrong torque setting when maintaining a single engine would be no reason to ground the entire fleet - just check the bolts on everything the klutz might have touched recently! Even though no information has been released, its quite likely that Airbus and the EA have a pretty good idea of the cause within hours of the plane landing. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Oct 7 '17 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ ... failures like this look spectacular, but the root cause might be quite simple, and you can learn a lot very quickly from a video link up (over a secure communications link!) between a roomful of specialists at Airbus and EA, plus somebody on the ground operating a hand-held video camera - and the major manufacturers have the systems in place to provide that level of technical support 24/7/365. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Oct 7 '17 at 19:42

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