Aviation

Qantas to inspect Airbus A380s for “fine” wing cracks

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Qantas will conduct inspections on the wings of its A380s after Airbus discovered fine wing cracks on early production models of the jet.

This comes after an international airworthiness directive was issued to inspect Airbus’ A380 fleet, which the manufacturer has supported.

Airbus has supported a decision by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to issue an airworthiness directive in order to inspect the international A380 fleet after the manufacturer confirmed that “small cracks” had been found on early production A380 aircraft.

Melbourne, Australia - May 26, 2017: Qantas A380 airplane docked for loading luggage and catering at Melbourne Airport.
Half of Qantas’ 12 A380s will be inspected alongside scheduled maintenance.

Airbus has said that it remains in contact with EASA and has informed its customers of the inspections, which will not effect the ongoing airworthiness of the A380 fleet.

“We have identified the issue and designed an inspection and repair scheme,” Airbus said in a statement, adding that the inspections and repairs could be accomplished over scheduled heavy maintenance checks.

Qantas has six A380s out of the 25 affected aircraft to be inspected between June 2020 and May 2021. The inspections are required within 15 years of their initial assembly.

The first inspection is not due on Qantas aircraft until June 2020 with the last not due until May 2021, with the airline stating the inspections will be made alongside scheduled maintenance.

Qantas Aircraft Taking Off

In a statement to Travel Weekly, Qantas head of engineering Chris Snook said inspections had been undertaken on two of the airline’s A380s, with no concerns for “the structural integrity of the wing” found.

He also said the inspections would be “done well in advance of the required timeframes”.

Qantas has been working with Airbus on this for some time, with two inspections having already been completed. One was completed in March and the other in July alongside scheduled maintenance.

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has been briefed on Qantas’s inspection program.

Airlines regularly receive service bulletins from aircraft manufacturers and airworthiness directives from safety regulators about inspections or corrective maintenance required on aircraft.

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