The China Eastern Airlines flight to Shanghai took off from Sydney today but had to return after the engine failure just over an hour later.
Passengers told Australian media they heard a massive noise and smelled something burning.
Photos of the aircraft on the ground show a large hole in one of the engine inlets.
Audio, purported to be of the pilot's emergency call to Sydney Air Traffic Control, has emerged on social media.
The cause of the damage has not yet been identified.
Terrified passengers described a massive din soon after flight MU736 took off from Sydney Airport at 8.30 pm (local time) on Sunday.
Tracking shows the plane heading north before turning south west, then heading east before turning around and returning to Sydney.
No crew members or passengers were injured in the incident.
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"I am glad we are all safe", she told Nine News.
Sydney Airport is now advising passengers to check with their airline for any delays.
The reports did not say how many passengers were on board. Oh, I was scared.
'I was scared. Yes, I was really scared.
All passengers were unharmed in the impromptu landing, and the carrier is now investigating the incident. All the passengers and crew were evacuated safely and no injuries were reported.
Audio from the cockpit of a China Eastern Airlines flight that had to return to Sydney Airport implies the pilot misspoke when alerting the tower.
Those on board spent the night in nearby hotels and were expected to fly out on Monday morning.
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