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Qantas plane forced to land in Bangkok

BANGKOK, Jan 26, 2011 – A Qantas Boeing 747 suffering mid-air mechanical trouble was forced to land in Bangkok, a Thai official said Wednesday, in the latest of a string of problems for the Australian airline.

The Sydney-bound flight developed difficulties on Tuesday evening soon after taking off from the Thai capital and returned just after 7:00 pm (1200 GMT), said Somchai Thean-Anant of Thailand\’s air traffic control.

Reporting from Sydney, the Australian Associated Press said the plane was carrying 352 passengers, and quoted a Qantas spokesman as denying that the airline was suffering from systemic maintenance problems.

Also on Tuesday, a Qantas Boeing 737-400 carrying 99 passengers lost cabin pressure mid-flight en route from Adelaide to Melbourne, prompting the pilot to dive 8,000 metres (26,000 feet) and panicking passengers.

Qantas has endured a dramatic few months. In November it temporarily suspended flights of its Airbus A380 superjumbos after an engine on one exploded after taking off from Singapore, damaging the plane.

Last week a Qantas flight bound for New York made an unscheduled stop in Fiji after the Boeing 747 developed a problem with a fuel valve supplying one of its engines.

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