KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) said yesterday that when Qantas sent one of its B737-400 aircraft to Malaysia Airlines Engineering & Maintenance (MAS E&M) in Subang for a heavy maintenance check (HMC) in May, the Australian carrier had also sent 12 of its own engineering personnel to oversee activities carried out on the aircraft.
"They constantly monitored and audited all HMC activities throughout the check and reported those items which they felt needed improvement," MAS said in response to reports in the Australian media that a Qantas jet had been grounded on Thursday despite a maintenance check in Malaysia earlier.
The Australian media alleged that the Qantas aircraft returned from Malaysia with 95 defects.
"All the problems were rectified to the satisfaction of the Qantas team before the aircraft was delivered to Australia. The Qantas team had been very helpful to our personnel to ensure the maintenance standards of Qantas were strictly observed," said MAS senior general manager E&M, Mohd Roslan Ismail.
With regard to the "string of faults" reported in the Australian media, MAS said its E&M team investigated and established that they were unsubstantiated.
"This is based on the fact that all these aspects were originally checked and found to be free from defect during the maintenance check-and-test flight, with the concurrence of the Qantas team."
As for the case of a Qantas flight attendant experiencing a static/mild electric shock, MAS said E&M had investigated and identified the root cause of the issue.
The media had also alleged that a galley was badly installed, posing a fire risk.
MAS said although it was not possible to ascertain if the defect originated from the HMC work at MAS E&M, this issue had been incorporated as an additional monitoring initiative for future work to eliminate such instances from recurring on all aircraft handled by MAS E&M.
MAS E&M is a certified approved Maintenance & Repair Organisation by the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation, European Aviation Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Administration .
Meanwhile, Bernama reports that a Qantas jet grounded in Melbourne on Thursday because of noise from an air-conditioning fault, was the same plane that returned from routine maintenance in Malaysia two months ago.
The Canberra-bound Boeing 737 jet returned to the terminal and passengers were transferred to another plane, finally leaving Melbourne 90 minutes later.
A Qantas spokesman said QF850 had problems with an air- conditioning duct unit while taxiing towards the runway. She also confirmed that, as with any maintenance work undertaken overseas, the work was carried out with supervision by Qantas Australian engineers.
The 737 had been back in service for seven weeks after the defects were repaired, she said.
The incident was the latest in a recent run of setbacks for Qantas. The spate of problems started last month when an explosion ripped a hole in the fuselage of a Qantas jet en route from Hong Kong to Melbourne, forcing an emergency landing at Manila.
Last week, a domestic flight was forced to return to Adelaide after a wheel bay door failed to close.
A Qantas Boeing 767 flight turned back to make an emergency landing at Sydney airport on Aug 2 after a hydraulic fluid leak was discovered.
On Monday, a jet was grounded for almost three hours after a technical fault was discovered in a pre-flight inspection at Sydney airport.
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