Page last updated at 09:31 GMT, Sunday, 3 August 2008 10:31 UK

Qantas faces special safety probe

Qantas 747 in Manila, 25/07
Qantas has a good safety record but has had recent setbacks

Australian aviation authorities have announced a special review of airline Qantas, after three safety scares in little more than a week.

A Qantas 767 was forced to return to Sydney on Saturday after a fluid leak.

It followed another plane's emergency landing in Manila caused by a hole in its side, and a problem with a landing gear cover on a domestic flight.

Officials said they had no evidence of falling safety standards, but added it was "prudent" to take a closer look.

The investigation will take place over the coming two weeks.

2 Aug: 767 returns to Sydney after hydraulic fluid leak in wing flap
28 July: 737 returns to Adelaide with landing gear cover problem
25 July: 747 diverted to Manila after hole appears in fuselage

"Clearly, there's been a number of incidents recently and it's important that we go in and double check and make sure that all the standards are being maintained," a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (Casa) said.

"I wouldn't say we're concerned about Qantas' safety at all," Peter Gibson added.

"In fact, we've found no evidence of safety slipping within the airline or safety standards being allowed to drop at all."

Mid-air drama

The Australian flag-carrier prides itself on having a good safety record, but a spate of recent incidents has dented its image, correspondents say.

The most recent incident, on Saturday, also involved Manila - this time on a plane headed for the Philippine capital. The Boeing 767 needed to return to Sydney after a hydraulic fluid leak was detected.

And six days ago a plane heading from Adelaide was forced to return after a landing gear bay door failed to close.

However, the mid-air drama between Hong Kong and Melbourne on 25 July made the most headlines.

Safety officials now say an exploding oxygen cylinder was the most likely cause of the hole in the side of the plane, which made an unscheduled detour to Manila.

'Tank exploded' on Qantas jet
30 Jul 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Fragments found on Qantas plane
28 Jul 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Fault forces Qantas plane to land
28 Jul 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Airline Qantas to cut 1,500 jobs
18 Jul 08 |  Business

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