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Cracks detected

An old problem on the A380 is back

Small hairline cracks six years ago gave the Airbus A380 a hard time. The problem could reoccur with earlier aircraft.

Tobias Gudat

A380 of Qantas: The Australian airline was one of the launch customers

The Superjumbo already had to fight with the problem once before. In 2012, Qantas and Singapore Airlines both discovered small hairline cracks in the wings of some of their Airbus A380s. After extensive and expensive inspections, repairs of aircraft that had been built until then and and adjustments in the production, the defect seemed to be repaired.

But now the problem has returned – but in a different place. Easa once again arranged for the inspection of previously built Airbus A380s. According to the Flightglobal portal, the European Aviation Authority has announced that hairline cracks have again been discovered on some aircraft. Operators of older aircraft should therefore have their superjumbos inspected soon after the damage has occurred.

Airbus working on repairs

This time the outer wing spars are said to be affected, which act as load-bearing components within the wings. The small cracks could endanger the bearing capacity of the wing structure, Easa writes in a preliminary instruction. Airbus plans to provide inspection and maintenance instructions for the affected airlines, including precise ultrasonic crack detection.

However, only the first 25 Airbus A380s built are affected by these problems. They are currently still in used by Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qantas and Hi Fly. Easa gave the operators a time window of 12 years and 3 months since the respective aircraft had been built in which the inspections are to be carried out.

Further A380s could also be affected

For Hi Fly, which operates the oldest of these early A380s, there is only time until the spring of next year. But the Easa won’t leave it at the first inspection and will have to repeated every three years. In addition, the authority could further extend the scope of affected aircraft.

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