Sat, Jan 07, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Qantas, Singapore Airlines say no risk despite jet cracks

AFP, SYDNEY

Australian carrier Qantas and Singapore Airlines yesterday reassured passengers there was no risk to safety after cracks were found on the wings of several A380 superjumbos, including some in their fleets.

Airbus revealed on Thursday that “minor cracks” had been found on some jets, but the European planemaker said they posed no safety problem and recommended a way they could be fixed.

Qantas said the cracks had been found on one of its 10 A380s.

“Minuscule cracking was found in the wing ribs of the Qantas A380 being repaired in Singapore,” a Qantas spokeswoman said in a statement.

“No immediate action is required by A380 operators because the cracking presents no risk whatsoever to flight safety,” she said.

The cracking on the Qantas A380, which is barely visible to the naked eye and less than 1cm long, is on the plane that suffered a mid-air engine explosion after take-off from Singapore in November 2010.

“Investigations have found that the cracking is unrelated to the engine failure incident,” the Qantas spokeswoman added. “It has now been repaired.”

Rival Singapore Airlines said it had also found cracks on the wings of two of its 14 A380 aircraft last year and repaired them.

Qantas said it would comply fully with the formal guidance now being developed by Airbus, which is likely to require A380 operators to inspect wing ribs for this type of cracking every four years.

However, the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association said all A380s should be probed for the cracks on the components, which run all along the wing to keep it structurally sound, as soon as possible.

“If one of them fails during flight, it’s going to put an increased load on the others that are most likely cracked as well,” union secretary Steve Purvinas said.

“They should be inspecting them all now and repairing them,” he said.

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