– Singapore Airlines and Qantas Airways said that they have discovered cracks on the wing ribs of some of their A380s. Both airlines along with Airbus insist that the cracks pose no safety threat and that repairs have been made.
Airbus has informed airlines operating its A380 superjumbos to check for small cracks in wing rib-skin attachments, but said the “minor” cracks are “non-critical” and don’t constitute a safety issue.
The European plane maker has confirmed that the cracks have been found in various parts of the wing rib attachments of five superjumbos one belonging to Qantas, two to Singapore Airlines, one to Emirates and one of Airbus’s development aircraft.
Less than a centimetre in length, the cracks were found on the L-shaped feet of the wing ribs. The feet attach the rib a vertical fixture to the cover of the wing.
Airbus engineers first discovered the problem during repair work to a Qantas A380 the airline’s first one which has been in Singapore since it suffered an engine failure over Indonesia’s Batam island in 2010.
As for the source of that problem Airbus has traced the problem to an aluminum material used in the wing ribs called 7449 which tends to be more sensitive to the way the parts are assembled on the wing.
There are now 67 (A380s) in service around the world and, while they have never had a fatal accident, there have been teething problems.