A380 safe to fly despite wing cracks, Airbus says

Posted on 20 Jan 2012
Airbus A380 Final Assembly Line in the Jean-Luc Lagardere plant at Toulouse, France.

Airbus confirmed discovering cracks on two A380 aircraft during routine checks but insisted they don’t represent a risk for the super-jumbo.

In a statement, the company said: “Airbus confirms that some additional cracks have been found on a limited number of non-critical brackets inside the wings of some A380s. We emphasise that these cracks do not affect the safe operation of the aircraft.”

The wings for the A380 are manufactured at the company’s site in Broughton, Wales. Small cracks had already been found by Singapore Airlines and Qantas. In 2010, the Australian airline grounded its entire A380 fleet after a Rolls-Royce built engine exploded forcing an aircraft to perform an emergency landing.

Airbus said that the cracks, located in a bracket connecting the exterior of the wing to the internal structure, are a manufacturing problem that can be fixed during inspections. The European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA), however, is expected to make more precautionary checks mandatory for airlines.

Despite concerns over the recent discovery of the cracks, 2011 has been a record year for Airbus, which outsold rival Boeing with net orders for 1,419 planes worth over £90bn.