Flight QF32 Class Action

What was the QF32 class action about?

Qantas Flight 32 (“QF32”) was an Airbus A380 operating from London to Sydney via Singapore. The aircraft operating as QF32 was fitted with four Rolls Royce engines. There were 440 passengers and 29 crew on the aircraft when it departed from Changi Airport, Singapore on 4 November 2010. Four minutes after take-off the left inboard engine suffered an uncontained engine failure. Shrapnel from the failure caused extensive damage to the left-wing, flight controls and engine controls. For the next hour the operating pilots circled Singapore dumping fuel and assessing the damage. The aircraft then made an emergency landing back into Changi Airport. The longest runway at the airport was used.

On landing QF32 was 50 tonnes over its maximum landing weight for the longest runway. The pilots successfully stopped the aircraft 100 metres from the end of the runway. Avgas from the fractured left wing fuel tanks pooled around the landing gear which was superheated by the pilots aggressively braking the aircraft to prevent it running off the end of the runway. The pilots could not shut down the outer left-wing engine. There was a significant fire risk. Passengers were permitted to disembark from the aircraft one hour after landing. As a result of their near-death experience, many passengers and crew members suffered psychological injury.

LHD Lawyers commenced a class action under the direction of Michael Hyland and his team in the New South Wales Supreme Court. The defendant to the claim was Rolls-Royce. As the engines fitted to QF32 were manufactured in the United Kingdom, in quantifying damages the law of England and Wales applied.

Who were the group members?

The group members for the class action included passengers and crew who suffered a diagnosable psychological injury as a result of the QF32 incident. There were a total of 150 group members. Each group member was entitled, subject to evidence, to claim damages for non-economic loss, economic loss and injury treatment expenses.

What was the QF32 class action outcome?

Following complex litigation, the class-action resolved by way of settlement.

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