14 Aug 2008

Qantas grounds flight

6:33 am on 14 August 2008

Qantas has grounded a Boeing 747 jet because a crucial screw, which could lead to the aircraft's tail breaking away if it failed, needed urgent maintenance.

Fairfax newspapers says the airline has confirmed that flight QF31 from Sydney to London was delayed on Wednesday because of "maintenance requirements associated with a horizontal stabiliser jack screw".

It says the fault was found during a routine check of records and the aircraft will operate on Friday.

An Alaska Airlines MD-80 jetliner crashed off the coast of Los Angeles eight years ago, killing all 88 people on board, after its horizontal stabiliser jammed.

On Tuesday, Qantas announced it would temporarily pull six Boeing 737 aircraft from service after discovering an irregularity with maintenance paperwork.