UPDATE 4:00 PM | TWO Qantas jets have been forced to return to Sydney after experiencing unrelated mechanical faults shortly after taking off, bound for America and South Africa.
The two passenger planes, one an A380 bound for Dallas and the other a Boeing 747 en route to Johannesburg, were forced to turn back to Sydney shortly after flying out on Friday afternoon.
Both airliners have cited “engineering issues” as the reason for their sudden return.
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It’s understood Qantas flight QF63 to Johannesburg has already returned to the airport and is safely on the tarmac.
It departed around 11.40am and was forced to turn around after encountering a mechanical issue around 90 minutes into its 13-hour journey. It landed safely back in Sydney shortly before 3.20pm.
The second aircraft, Qantas flight QF7 remains in a holding pattern off the coast of Wollongong where it has been circling and dumping fuel for the last hour.
It departed around 1.40pm and was forced to turn back to the airport less than an hour into its 15-hour flight to Dallas.
Qantas released a statement a short time ago, confirming the issue on board the A380 was to do with the flaps.
“The flaps on the aircraft (which are attached to the wing) are unable to retract which means the aircraft can’t fly efficiently,” the statement read.
“As the Dallas flight is our longest on the network, the captain made the decision to return to Sydney.
The A380 is expected to touch down in Sydney around 4pm where it will be inspected by engineers.
Qantas said the issue on board the Boeing 747 was not related to the fault on the A380.
“Our operational teams are working through accommodating passengers or offering them transport home before replacement services are organised.”