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Sunday 19th of May 2013
Airbus confirms that A380 superjumbo is safe to fly
Airbus has eased concerns over the cracks which have been found in the wing brackets of its A380 planes by saying that it understands the problem and has a simple way of fixing it. European safety authorities last week ordered an inspection of the planes.
Singapore Airlines has already inspected four of its fleet of superjumbos and said that it had found cracks in the wings of all of them. Repairs have already been made to one of the planes, and it has now returned to service. Another is due to resume flights today.
Qantas has 12 A380s in its fleet, but because they are relatively young compared to other airlines, the carrier has been told that inspection is not compulsory. The Qantas superjumbos are also used for some of the longest journeys in the world, so they make less landings and take-offs, the time when the most stress is placed on the wings.
Australian engineers last week called for a grounding of the A380s until the problem was solved, something that Airbus has said would not be necessary. The planemaker’s executive VP of programmes, Tom Williams, has made an unscheduled address in Dublin where an industry conference is taking place. He said that the A380 remains safe to fly.
Airbus said the problem was to do with the aluminium alloy the wing brackets are made from, the bolt which attaches them and strain being placed on other components by a gap closing system. It said it was now making changes to the manufacturing process.
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