Airbus Asks Airlines to Check Wings of Older A380 Aircraft
European aircraft maker Airbus has asked airlines operating 25 of its oldest A380 super-jumbo jets to get their wings inspected for cracks as per EU’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The EASA said in an airworthiness directive dated July 5 that “occurrences have been reported of finding cracks” in certain parts of the wing on in-service A380 airplanes.
To address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus plans to issue the SB (service bulletin) to provide inspection instructions.
The directive does not yet ground any aircraft for the moment. EASA, which is based in Germany, advised ultrasonic testing on 25 of the 234 A380 aircraft in operation, notably those built more than 15 years ago. It said that this airworthiness directive is considered an interim action, limited to the 25 oldest wing sets.
In an emailed statement, Airbus said that “airworthiness directives are standard in aviation and demonstrate the regulatory process working well. Aviation is one of the most regulated of any sectors. Safety is the top priority in aviation.”
Airbus announced in February that it would stop building the A380, a double-decker jet. While the passengers welcomed the decision, it failed to win over enough airlines to justify its massive costs.
The U.S. plane maker Boeing is still reeling from the grounding of its 737 MAX whose automatic flight handling software was seen as a factor in two crashes involving Ethiopian Airlines and Indonesia’s Lion Air.
Based on inspection findings, further AD action may follow to address additional in-service airplanes.
Four of Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) Airbus A380 airplanes will have to be inspected after an aviation safety agency issued an alert about cracks in a part of the wing in the early models of the planes.
There were reports of cracks in the wing outer rear spar in wing box assemblies made between 2004 and 2006.
The spar is a long beam that runs from the aircraft body to the tip of the wing. It is a key component in supporting the wing structure, and cracks could reduce the structural integrity of the wing.