A Qantas Airways Limited plane was forced to turn back to Hobart, the capital city of the Australian island state of Tasmania, nearly 20 minutes into a flight to Melbourne, after an indicator light in the cockpit went off, a spokesperson for the company said, according to reports. It was the fourth time that a Qantas flight had to make an unscheduled landing in less than 48 hours.
The Boeing 717, a twin-engine, single-aisle aircraft that accommodates up to 110 passengers, left Hobart International Airport at 6:30 p.m. local time (2:30 a.m. EST). The aircraft is reportedly being examined by engineers at the airport, ABC News reported. The latest incident comes after three planes of the Australia-based company were forced to make a landing due to technical issues on Monday.
A Qantas A380 Airbus en route to Sydney from Dubai was diverted to Perth after the plane’s air-conditioning failed. Later, a Qantas 737 traveling from Perth to Karratha in Western Australia turned back after an unusual odor was detected in the cabin. A spokesperson for Perth Airport also reportedly said that a warning signal lit up, but caused no harm to any of the passengers.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce reportedly dismissed concerns over the emergency landing as unusual. "There are turn-backs that happen. Thousands of them. Every year, around the globe," he reportedly said. "We have really high reliability. We have low levels of turnbacks compared to most of the world fleets."
Later on Monday, another A380 aircraft heading from Sydney to Dallas was forced to turn back four hours into its flight after problems involving the toilets and seat power.
"While the aircraft could have continued flying safely to Dallas, the decision was made to return to Sydney in the interests of passenger comfort on what is a long flight," the airline reportedly said, in a statement.