Cracks found in A380 wings

2012-01-06 08:13
Sydney - Australian carrier Qantas and Singapore Airlines on Friday reassured passengers there was no risk to safety after cracks were found on the wings of several A380 superjumbos, including some in their fleets.

Airbus revealed on Thursday that "minor cracks" had been found on some jets, but the European plane maker said they posed no safety problem and recommended a way they could be fixed.

Qantas said the cracks had been found on one of its 10 A380s.

"Minuscule cracking was found in the wing ribs of the Qantas A380 being repaired in Singapore," a Qantas spokesperson said in a statement.

"No immediate action is required by A380 operators because the cracking presents no risk whatsoever to flight safety."

The cracking on the Qantas A380, which is barely visible to the naked eye and less than a centimetre long, is on the plane that suffered a mid-air engine explosion after take-off from Singapore in November 2010.

"Investigations have found that the cracking is unrelated to the engine failure incident," the Qantas spokeswoman added. "It has now been repaired."

Rival Singapore Airlines said it had also found cracks on the wings of two of its 14 A380 aircraft last year and repaired them.

"Cracks were found on a small number of wing rib feet on an Airbus A380 during inspections in the second half of last year," spokesman Nicholas Ionides said in a statement.

Increased load

"These pose no safety issue and repairs were carried out on the aircraft.

"Repairs were subsequently carried out on a second aircraft."

Toulouse-based Airbus, the main subsidiary of aerospace giant EADS, said on Thursday that minor cracks were found on some non-critical wing rib-skin attachments on a limited number of A380s.

"We have traced the origin. Airbus has developed an inspection and repair procedure which will be done during routine, scheduled four-year maintenance checks," the planemaker said.

"In the meantime, Airbus emphasises that the safe operation of the A380 fleet is not affected."

Qantas said it would comply fully with the formal guidance now being developed by Airbus, which is likely to require A380 operators to inspect wing ribs for this type of cracking every four years.

But the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association said all A380s should be probed for the cracks on the components, which run all along the wing to keep it structurally sound, as soon as possible.

"If one of them fails during flight, it's going to put an increased load on the others that are most likely cracked as well," union secretary Steve Purvinas told AFP.

"They should be inspecting them all now and repairing them."

The A380 is the world's biggest passenger jet and a key product in Airbus's line-up as it battles its main rival US giant Boeing for the top spot in the world civil airliner industry.

The double-decker plane entered service in 2007 after years of technical delays. There are now 67 in service around the world and, while they have never had a fatal accident, there have been teething problems.

Read more on:    qantas  |  australia  |  air travel

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.