Airbus orders more inspections for A380 wings
March 10, 2014, Paris, Fra. - Airbus has asked airlines to increase inspections of A380 wings after identifying unexpected levels of metal fatigue on a factory test aircraft, according to industry sources.
The airlines have been ordered to inspect the wing's spars or main internal beams during heavy maintenance visits, which are conducted after six years in service.
Following this procedure, the airlines have been asked to inspect internal beams again after 12 years, which doubles the current number of inspections.
A spokeswoman for the Airbus Group subsidiary confirmed the discovery of 'fatigue findings' on a factory mock-up and added that this would be addressed during routine maintenance inspections of the A380, which remained 'safe to fly'.
Airbus recently completed the two-year programme of modifications and charges for A380, which was introduced after cracks were discovered on the fittings inside the wings of A380 aircraft.
"The airlines have been ordered to inspect the wing's spars or main internal beams during heavy maintenance visits."
The cracks were discovered during repairs following the Qantas Flight 32 incident on Nov. 4, 2010, when the aircraft en route from Singapore Changi Airport to Sydney Airport suffered an uncontained engine failure.
Following the discovery, an Airworthiness Directive was issued affecting 20 A380 aircraft that had accumulated over 1,300 flights.
Aircraft with under 1,800 hours flight were to be inspected within six weeks or 84 flights, while those with more than 1,800 hours flight were to be examined within four days or 14 flights.
On 8 February 2012, checks were extended to cover all 68 A380 aircraft in operation, while EADS acknowledged that the cost of repairs would be over $130 million, to be borne by Airbus.
The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet, and the world's largest passenger aircraft.