Airbus admits design flaws but says A380 safe to fly

written by australianaviation.com.au | January 26, 2012
Airbus has dismissed calls by Qantas engineers for immediate inspection of all A380s for wing cracks. (Rob Finlayson)

Cracks inside A380 wings has led Airbus to acknowledge manufacturing and design flaws but insist that the world’s largest jetliner remains safe to fly.

The planemaker confirmed that more cracks had been discovered during compulsory inspections ordered this week by the European Aviation Safety Agency, Reuters reported. The inspections were ordered after cracks were found inside the wings of several A380s over the past month.

Airbus declined to elaborate on the newly discovered cracks ahead of Friday’s deadline to complete inspections on the most heavily used A380s. The company said it had developed a plan to fix the cracks well before they pose a safety threat.

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The cracks have been found in a number of L-shaped brackets used to connect metal ribs with the wing interior. In a press conference Wednesday, an Airbus official said the cracks were caused by a combination of the choice of aluminium alloy for the brackets combined with stresses imposed at two stages of the manufacturing process.

The union representing Qantas engineers has called for a grounding of the A380 fleet to allow for immediate inspection of all aircraft.

Airbus has delivered 68 of the 525-seat double decker, the world’s largest passenger jet, including 12 to Qantas.

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