Seventh in a week: Qantas flight to Kalgoorlie forced back to Perth after takeoff

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A Qantas flight from Perth Airport (PER) to Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport (KGI) in Western Australia  was forced to return to Perth due to a mechanical issue. 

Flight QF1608 flew for just 50 minutes before the Fokker 100 aircraft registered VH-NHP was forced to return, landing safely back in Perth at about 16:40 local time on January 24, 2023.

Image source: Flightradar24

This marks the seventh incident in a week-long series of turned back flights for the Australian flag carrier.

Qantas flight incidents for January 2023

From January 18, 2023 to January 24, 2023, Qantas has had seven consecutive flight incidents:

January 18, 2023QF 144 was bound for Sydney from Auckland when flight crew issued a mayday distress signal over the Pacific Ocean. The aircraft landed without further incidents.

January 19, 2023 QF 101 was flying to Nadi, Fiji when it was forced to turn back to Sydney as a “precaution” after pilots received a warning about a potential mechanical issue. 

January 20, 2023 

QF 430 departed Melbourne and was bound for Sydney, but the Boeing 737 aircraft was forced to circle back after the pilots received an indication of a minor engine issue shortly after takeoff. 

QF 1516 departed Melbourne, and was headed to Canberra, when the Boeing 717 aircraft experienced issues with its flaps and was also forced to turn back to Melbourne Airport.

January 22, 2023 – QF102 was bound for Sydney when it was forced to turn back mid-flight as a precaution after pilots received a report of fumes in the cabin.

January 23, 2023 – QF887 was en route to Perth Airport (PER) from Adelaide International Airport (ADL) when the aircraft, an Airbus A330, was forced to turn back 45 minutes into the flight due to incomplete paperwork.

January 24, 2023 – QF 1608 was bound for Kalgoorlie when the Fokker 100 aircraft had to return to Perth due to minor mechanical issues.

“No issues at Qantas”

Despite mounting concerns about Qantas’ safety and aircraft age due to the string of incidents, the airline assured that there are “no issues.”

In an interview with Sydney radio news and talk show 2GB on January 23, 2023,  Qantas domestic and international CEO Andrew David said that “there are absolutely no issues with Qantas”, saying that the airline averages about 60 turnbacks per year, noting that the global aviation industry would average about 10,000 diversions or air turn backs annually.

David also said that the aircraft involved in Qantas’ turnback incidents were all below 20 years. 

​​“Those particular aircraft are all within, well, within the 20 years that we would normally start retiring aircrafts. We do have a new aircraft coming every month this year,” David said.

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