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Wednesday, 25 April, 2001, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
High price of Qantas cost-cutting
qantas plane in a field
The plane ended up in a field
The Australian authorities have criticised the country's biggest airline, Qantas, for introducing cost-cutting procedures which have been blamed for a botched landing at Bangkok airport in 1999.


[The incident] was a wake-up call to Qantas, who may have been lulled into a false sense of security by their very good safety record

Australian Transport Safety Bureau head
Crash investigators said the airline had failed to teach pilots to land on wet runways.

In the incident, a Qantas Boeing 747 came to a halt in a golf course during a landing in stormy weather.

None of the 400 passengers on board were injured when the plane overshot the runway and then aquaplaned down it, but the incident caused damage coasting $50m.

The crash dented the airline's promotional line that it was one of the world's safest.

Procedure prohibited

The official report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the crash could have been prevented if the flight crew had used the plane's reverse thrust control to slow it down.


We have taken action on all the issues raised. No-one can guarantee that an accident won't happen again... but we can say this is a very safe airline

Qantas Chief Executive Geoff Dixon
But Qantas had prohibited this procedure three years earlier because, the report said, it resulted in high maintenance costs and noise penalties.

The procedure is noisier and causes more wear on brakes.

"[The incident] was a wake-up call to Qantas, who may have been lulled into a false sense of security by their very good safety record," the bureau's executive director Kym Bills said.

Qantas Chief Executive Geoff Dixon said the company had accepted the report and its recommendations.

"We have taken action on all the issues raised. No-one can guarantee that an accident won't happen again... but we can say this is a very safe airline."

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See also:

01 Apr 01 | Business
Profits grounded at Qantas
10 Dec 00 | Business
BA seeks closer ties with Qantas
22 Feb 01 | Business
Tough market for Qantas
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