Sydney: Qantas grounded a Boeing 747 overnight because of a wiring malfunction, the Australian airline said on Sunday, the latest incident to hit the carrier since a mid-air engine blast earlier this month.
The London-bound flight was cancelled late on Saturday after the pilot experienced "an issue with one of the engines" before take-off, a Qantas spokesman said.
"It turned out to be a wiring issue," he said, adding that the malfunction affected the system which supports the engine.
Reports said passengers heard a loud noise as the plane was taxiing towards the runway at Sydney airport. Engineers worked on the aircraft overnight and it departed for London early Sunday.
"It was unfortunate timing for a number of reasons but it is not a major issue," the spokesman said of the incident.
The hitch came just hours after Qantas put its first Airbus A380 back in the air after grounding its six superjumbos for three weeks after one experienced an engine explosion on November 04.
That blast, which shattered parts of the turbine and damaged the plane`s wing, forced an emergency landing in Singapore and saw the airline put the world`s biggest passenger jets through intensive safety checks.
These resulted in Qantas, which uses the superjumbos on long-haul routes to London and Los Angeles, replacing some of the A380s` Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines.
Airline chief executive Alan Joyce, who was on the Sydney to Singapore leg of the first A380 to resume flying on Saturday, said the company was now "100 percent comfortable" with the safety of the giant planes.
Only two of Qantas`s A380s will initially return to service, with the airline taking delivery of two new superjumbos before the year`s end and another two in early 2011.
Qantas, which has never suffered a fatal crash in the jet age, has voluntarily barred the A380s from operating on trans-Pacific flights to Los Angeles because of the extra engine thrust required.