Bloomberg News

Singapore Air, Qantas Repair ‘Small Cracks’ in Airbus A380 Wings

January 08, 2012

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Qantas Airways Ltd., operators of the biggest Airbus SAS A380 fleets in the Asia-Pacific region, said “small cracks” found in plane- wing parts were fixable and didn’t pose a safety threat.

The Singaporean carrier has already completed repairs on wing-rib feet, which help support wings, on the two aircraft where faults have been found, it said in a e-mailed statement today. Qantas has begun work on its one affected plane, Thomas Woodward, a spokesman, said by phone.

Airbus, the world’s largest commercial plane maker, said yesterday cracks had been found in a “limited number” of A380s and that it had alerted operators and regulators. The faults, which are linked to a manufacturing issue, can be fixed during scheduled four-year maintenance checks, according to the company.

“This is not a safety issue and aircraft performance is not affected,” Sean Lee, a Singapore-based Airbus spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement today.

Singapore Air, which is based in the city-state, and Sydney-based Qantas operate 26 of the super-jumbos between them.

The affected Qantas plane is the same one that experienced a mid-air engine explosion in November 2010. That incident prompted the carrier to ground its A380 fleet for 23 days.

The cracks were found while the plane was being repaired in Singapore and they aren’t related to the engine incident, Woodward said.

Aircraft bodies are closely monitored by maintenance crews as fissures can be indicators of metal fatigue, a condition that has caused crashes.

--With assistance from Ben Sharples in Melbourne. Editor: Robert Fenner, Neil Denslow

To contact the reporter on this story: David Fickling in Sydney at dfickling@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net


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