Australia's Qantas Airways grounded its fleet of Airbus A380 super jumbo planes on Thursday after engine failure forced a dramatic emergency landing in Singapore.

Chief executive Alan Joyce told journalists here that all six A380s, the flagship of Qantas' 191-strong fleet, would remain suspended from take-off “until we're fully comfortable that sufficient information has been obtained about QF32.”

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said a team of experts was leaving for Singapore to begin investigation.

Mr. Joyce said the plane experienced “a significant engine failure” just six minutes into its flight from Singapore to Sydney, before turning back to the city-state's Changi airport.

The double-decker, carrying 433 passengers and 26 crew, dumped fuel over Indonesia before returning, trailing smoke, to Singapore, where it was doused by fire crews.

Pieces fall off

One of the plane's four engines was blackened and its rear casing was missing, while metal debris — including a piece carrying Qantas's ‘flying kangaroo' logo — rained on the Indonesian city of Batam, near Singapore.

“This…engine failure has been one that we haven't seen before….so we're obviously taking this very seriously because it's a significant engine failure,” Mr. Joyce said.

The incident involved the very first A380 Qantas bought two years ago.

It would consult Airbus and engine manufacturer Rolls Royce, he said.

Qantas has been operating the giant 450-seat A380s since 2008, and plans to have a 20-strong fleet by 2015.

Mr. Joyce said the incident would not, however, affect future orders.

The Australian flag-carrier uses its A380s for flights between Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles, along with flights from Australia to London via Singapore.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said a team of experts was leaving for Singapore to begin investigation.

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