Thursday, 16 August 2012

More cracks found in Airbus A380 wings

Airbus has insisted its A380 superjumbo is safe to fly, after the discovery of another set of cracks in the wings. It's the second time in a fortnight that hairline cracks have been found in the world's largest jetliner, which airlines began flying four years ago. The European planemaker says it will develop inspection programmes.

 And Reuters sources say European safety authorities will order airlines to inspect the most heavily-used A380s in the next few days. Airbus said the cracks were found on a number of "non-critical" brackets inside the wings of two aircraft, during routine two-year inspections - and similar faults showed up in five other aircraft in early January. But the aircraft aren't grounded, and Howard Wheeldon, Senior Strategist at BGC Partners says Airbus or the operating airlines wouldn't be flying the planes if they were unsafe.

Howard Wheeldon, Senior Strategist at BGC Partners, saying (English): "I don't think we should be worried at all because I think the commitment to the aircraft from the manufacturer and the words that they've used this week are supportive that this aircraft is very safe and should continue to fly." The A380 has had a bumpy ride due to development problems and the blowout of a Rolls Royce engine on this Qantas-operated A380 in November 2010. The news of the wing cracks hasn't had much impact on shares in Airbus' parent company EADS. But after Airbus had a record year in 2011, selling significantly more planes than rival Boeing, it will need to solve this issue quickly if it hopes to repeat its success this year.

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