PARIS, Nov 4, 2010 (AFP) - An Airbus A380 airliner that was forced to make an emergency landing in Singapore on Thursday had suffered a "serious" fault at the rear of one of its jet engines, French crash investigators said.
An unidentified passenger (L) is escorted from the terminal of Changi International airport in Singapore on November 4, 2010 after disembarking from the Qantas Airbus A380 aircraft. AFP
Separately, French airline Air France said it had no plans to ground any of its four A380 superjumbos following the drama aboard the Qantas jet, which had 450 people on board and landed trailing smoke from a blackened engine.
France's air accident investigation agency, the BEA, said it would be involved in the probe into what went wrong on board the French-built plane, and that it appeared that a section of engine cover had dropped off.
"What we know for the moment is that the engine lost its rear housing. It's a fault on the rear part of the jet motor that led to a serious damage," said a BEA spokeswoman in Paris.
"It's a serious incident. It's obvious that normally the housing should not fall off mid-flight," said Jean-Paul Troadec, director of the BEA.
"It's very likely the pilot stopped the engine when he spotted an anomaly. But we must be cautious, we don't yet know the cause of the anomaly."
Troadec said that the loss of one engine on the four-engined jet should have been "manageable" under normal emergency procedures.
The BEA said Australian authorities would lead the investigation, and that a two or three-strong French team of experts would join their colleagues to represent France as the plane's homeland.
Meanwhile, Air France joined Germany's Lufthansa and the United Arab Emirates' Emirates airline in saying it had no immediate plans to ground its own fleet of A380 jets following the incident.
The French carrier said its A380s were equipped with jet engines built by Engine Alliance, a consortium of Pratt and Wittney, General Electric and Safran, whereas Quantas was flying with Rolls Royce motors.
Quantas has already grounded all six of is Airbus superjumbos following the incident.