Emirates checks A380 wings for cracks

Emirates has inspected one A380 and is looking at another aircraft, following the European Aviation Safety Agency's (EASA) airworthiness directive requiring immediate inspection of A380 superjumbos.

EASA issued its directive for the inspection of 20 superjumbos after cracks were found in the feet of the wing-rib attachments of five A380s from Singapore Airlines' and Qantas' fleet.

Emirates is the largest A380 operator globally, with 90 on its order books, 20 of which are currently in service. It declined to say how many more would be inspected.

An Emirates spokesperson said: "Emirates will comply fully with the airworthiness directive issued today by aircraft manufacturer Airbus and the EASA in regards to cracks discovered in the secondary, non-primary structure of the Airbus A380 aircraft wings. We have inspected one aircraft and currently have another aircraft under inspection."

The airline said the directive poses no impact on its operations and they remain "fully airworthy and pose no risk to flight safety as affirmed by EASA and Airbus".

Singapore Airlines confirmed that repairs were carried out at the end of last year on its A380s on which cracks were found. Qantas has also been identified in the media as another airline flying the A380 affected by the issue.

Other carriers currently operating the superjumbo are Lufthansa, Air France, Korean Air and China Southern.

EASA said in a statement: "This inspection, which applies to aircraft that have already completed more than 1,300 flights, will have to be performed within six weeks of January 24, 2012. Aircraft that have completed more than 1,800 flights will have to be inspected within four days of this date.

"EASA and Airbus are working closely together to ensure the continuing safe operations of the A380 aircraft type. In accordance with EASA, Airbus has established a repair scheme if cracks are found during the inspection.

"EASA continues to review the situation closely. As a result of the on-going investigation, further mandatory actions may be considered."

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