Airbus orders new wing crack repairs after design fault admittance

by Jessica MCILHINNEY on March 9, 2012

Repairs will be carried out on roughly 100 Airbus A380s after cracks in their wings were found to be the result of a design fault.

Airbus discovered the source of the worrying cracks after inspections of its 68 superjumbos that were already sent in for servicing at the start of the year. Although Airbus and safety regulators have said that the planes are safe to fly, this discovery of a design fault will cause embarrassment for the manufacturer, even though it is commonly accepted that new aircraft usually have teething troubles.

Remarkably, this isn’t the only blow to impact the flagship aircraft during its time in the skies.  The most infamous incident of all occurred in November 2010, when Australian flagship carrier Qantas was forced to ground its A380 fleet after a Trent 900 engine from Rolls Royce exploded in flight. Capable of holding over 500 passengers, Airbus 380s are currently operated by a handful of leading airlines that includes the likes of Lufthansa, Emirates and Singapore Airlines .

British Airways, the carrier that placed an order of 12 A380s, will take its first delivery of the aircraft in spring 2010, while Virgin Atlantic is to receive its first of six new superjumbos in 2015. Aside from the 69 A380s already in service, airlines around the world have ordered around 250 more of them.
Airbus, the manufacturer of the wings from its Filton site, has accepted that the problems weren’t due to poor assembly and instead should be blamed on a design fault that relates to the current choice of aluminium.

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