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Qantas superjumbo returns to skies

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A Qantas A380 superjumbo takes off in Sydney for the first time since a midair engine explosion (AP)

A Qantas A380 superjumbo takes off in Sydney for the first time since a midair engine explosion (AP)

A Qantas A380 superjumbo takes off in Sydney for the first time since a midair engine explosion (AP)

A Qantas superjumbo has taken off from Sydney en route to London on the first passenger flight for the airline's A380s since a mid-air engine explosion earlier this month.

The flight marks the resumption of A380 services for the Australian airline, which grounded its fleet of six superjumbos after the engine disintegration shortly after one took off from Singapore on November 4.

Qantas spokesman Tom Woodward said the flight left Sydney a few minutes late but with no problems. It was headed for Singapore, then London.

The November 4 incident was the most serious safety scare for the world's newest and largest jetliner and prompted modifications to the Rolls-Royce engine used on 20 A380s by three airlines.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce joined the 350 passengers for the first leg.

Mr Joyce's presence was a gesture meant to reassure customers about the plane's safety.

The engine problem prompted a global safety review of the Trent 900 engine used on 20 A380s across three airlines.

Qantas has replaced at least 14 engines on its fleet, and so far is returning only two of its A380s to service.

PA