Repaired Qantas jet takes off for LA

A Qantas Airways jumbo jet was tonight on its way to Los Angeles after it was grounded overnight in Auckland following an in-flight problem with one of its engines.

"It took off just after 2pm," a spokeswoman for the airline said today.

One of four engines on the Boeing 747-300 on a flight from Melbourne was unexepectedly "reduced to idle" speed - without a command from the pilots - as the plane approached Auckland Airport on Wednesday night, Qantas spokeswoman Holly Williams said.

The pilot landed the aircraft with 219 passengers and 16 crew without further incident and a faulty fuel-flow regulator was replaced overnight .

The incident occurred as Australia's airline safety body expanded an investigation of Qantas after the company announced it had temporarily pulled six Boeing 737-400 airplanes from service on Tuesday because of irregularities in maintenance records, AAP reported.

In another incident on Wednesday, a Boeing 747 had to be taken out of service to replace a jackscrew crucial to the operation of the plane's tail, and the airline confirmed that urgent maintenance was needed.

Another Qantas Boeing 747 was grounded temporarily in Melbourne on Wednesday because of a problem with a flap indicator in the cockpit.

This week's problems are the latest in a spate of incidents for the airline since one of its planes made an emergency landing in Manila last month after an explosion tore a large hole in the fuselage.

Nobody was hurt in that mid-air incident, which is thought to have been due to an exploding oxygen bottle.

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