23 Nov 2008

Christchurch flight grounded by latest technical problem

5:55 am on 23 November 2008

A Qantas flight bound for Christchurch had to be aborted minutes before takeoff on Saturday morning when wing damage was discovered by an engineer at Sydney airport.

The Qantas 747-300 was taxiing towards the runway at 9.15am (AEST) on Saturday, when an engineer noticed damage to its right wing flap and notified the pilot, who aborted the flight.

Qantas said all 213 passengers on the plane have been booked on another flight on Sunday morning.

The cause of the damage is being assessed, a spokesperson for the airline said.

The aborted flight is the latest mishap in recent months to plague the flying kangaroo.

In July a Qantas 747 had its belly torn open when an oxygen tank exploded on a flight over Manila, sparking an Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation.

And in October a Qantas plane suffered a dramatic midair plunge on a flight from Singapore to Perth, where the plane fell 200 metres in 20 seconds, hurling unrestrained passengers around the cabin.

About 40 passengers were taken to hospital after the plane made an emergency landing in Learmonth, near Exmouth in Western Australia's north.