Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Thursday, 30 October 2008

Qantas plane 'guided to safety'

Tail of Qantas Boeing 737 passenger plane (archive)
Qantas prides itself on its air safety record

A Qantas plane had to be guided by another airliner after its weather radar failed, in the latest of a series of mishaps to affect the carrier.

Qantas officials said an Air New Zealand crew provided information to the Qantas plane, as the two aircraft made the trip from the US to Auckland.

Qantas officials said the incident caused no danger to the 284 passengers.

Australia's national flag-carrier has been plagued by a series of safety scares in recent months.

In October, a computer glitch caused a Qantas plane suddenly to plunge more than 300m (1000ft), injuring more than 70 people.

In July, a Qantas Boeing 747 flying from Hong Kong to Melbourne was forced to make an emergency landing after an oxygen cylinder exploded, blowing a large hole in the fuselage.

Passengers unaware

The faulty weather radar was discovered on the Boeing 747-400 flight QF12 soon after it left Los Angeles on Monday night, Qantas officials told reporters.

The plane was en route to Sydney, but diverted to Auckland in order to follow the Air New Zealand plane.

"An Air New Zealand flight was a short distance ahead, and it provided the Qantas aircraft with information from its own radar system throughout the journey," an unnamed Qantas official told the French news agency AFP.

Passengers in the Qantas plane were not aware of any problems until they awoke in Auckland with the announcement the flight had been diverted, passenger Sean Lygo told New Zealand media.

"I sat there and thought about it for a while and it's not exactly pleasant to imagine flying blind across the Pacific, but we are here and everybody is safe," he said.

The faulty radar equipment was repaired in Auckland, and the flight arrived in Sydney four hours late.

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