Qantas A330 makes emergency landing after inflight shutdown of one engine 

Phuong D. Nguyen / Shutterstock

A Qantas Airbus A330 has made an emergency landing at Perth Airport in Western Australia after the crew were forced to shut down one of the aircraft’s engines following a technical issue. The flight was en route from Melbourne (MEL) to Perth (PER) on the evening of March 25, 2024, when the incident unfolded. 

The affected flight, QF781 departed Melbourne at 20:48, 58 minutes behind its scheduled departure time. The transcontinental flight to Perth was scheduled to take three hours and 50 minutes on what is a routine operation for Qantas’ fleet of A330s. The flight was being operated by A330-200 VH-EBA.  

According to reports, during the flight, passengers and crew heard a loud bang emanating from one of the two engines. The engine that had suffered the technical fault on the left wing was subsequently shut down by the crew and the flight continued flying on the one remaining engine towards its destination. The aircraft was cleared by air traffic controllers at Perth to make a priority landing and carried out a routine single-engine approach and landing at the airport. All crew and passengers disembarked the aircraft without further incident. 


Having landed safely at Perth, the aircraft was immediately handed over to Qantas engineers based at the airport to carry out further assessment of the engine to find the root cause of the technical issue. Passengers awaiting the return flight back to Melbourne (due to be operated by VH-EBA) were accommodated on another albeit delayed Qantas A330.  

“The pilots followed the procedures for this type of incident and manually shut down the engine and requested a priority landing,” said a Qantas spokesperson following the incident. “These aircraft are designed to safely operate with one engine. The aircraft landed safely without further incident in Perth. We know this would have been unsettling for customers onboard and we thank them for their cooperation and understanding.” 

Further details 

Speaking to local media, a passenger onboard the aircraft, Lachlan Britt, described a “massive bang” as the plane began its descent into Perth.  

“You could tell something had changed just with the sound of the plane afterward,” he said. “I looked around a bit to see if anything was evident out the window but couldn’t see much.”  

“The cabin crew was quick to start opening everything up. The pilot then came on and advised they’d shut down engine one. There were a few nervous faces around, but once the plane had landed safely on the tarmac, passengers let out a sigh and a round of applause,” he added. 

“While these incidents are rare, pilots are well-trained to manage them safely,” said Tony Lucas, President of the Australian and International Pilots Association. 

Lucas went on to praise the crew for “their skill and expertise in delivering a safe outcome while also making the point that having two well-rested and well-trained pilots on the flight deck is the best safety feature available to aviation.” 

Ryan Fletcher / Shutterstock

Qantas’ 16-strong Airbus A330-200 fleet is deployed on several key trunk domestic routes for the carrier as well as to a small number of international destinations including Auckland (AKL) and Christchurch (CHC) in New Zealand, plus Jakarta (CGK) in Indonesia and Singapore (SIN).   

According to ch-aviation, VH-EBA is 21.5 years old and was the first of the type delivered to Qantas in December 2002. The plane accommodates 271 passengers in a two-class configuration – 28 in business class and 243 in economy class. The aircraft remains on the ground in Perth at the time of writing.    

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