The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has released an airworthiness directive (AD) advising six airlines to inspect the wings of early-build Airbus A380s. The regulator states that cracks have been found in the outer rear spars, between wing ribs 33 and 49. It believes that “if not detected and corrected, [the condition] could reduce the structural integrity of the wing”.
The issue currently concerns ten Emirates, six Qantas and two Air France super jumbos, as well as sole examples operated by Lufthansa and Hi Fly Malta. Of the six Singapore Airlines aircraft requiring inspections, two have been stored at Lourdes/Tarbes Airport, France, for parting out since April and June 2018 respectively.
EASA states that “This AD is considered an interim action, limited to the 25 oldest wing sets. Based on inspection findings, further AD action may follow to address additional in-service aeroplanes”.
Currently, 14 airlines fly the A380, including Malaysia Airlines, Etihad Airways, China Southern, Asiana, British Airways and, most recently, All Nippon Airways. The Japanese carrier received two aircraft from an order for three earlier this year.
Affected aircraft by operator:
Air France: F-HPJA (c/n 033), F-HPJB (c/n 040).
Emirates: A6-EDF (c/n 007), A6-EDJ (c/n 009), A6-EDA (c/n 011), A6-EDB (c/n 013), A6-EDC (c/n 016), A6-EDE (c/n 017), A6-EDD (c/n 020), A6-EDG (c/n 023), A6-EDH (c/n 025).
Hi Fly Malta: 9H-MIP (c/n 006).
Lufthansa: D-AIMA (c/n 038).
Qantas: VH-OQA (c/n 014), VH-OQB (c/n 015), VH-OQC (c/n 022), VH-OQD (c/n 026), VH-OQE (c/n 027), VH-OQF (c/n 029).
Singapore Airlines: 9V-SKD* (c/n 008), 9V-SKE* (c/n 010), 9V-SKF (c/n 012), 9V-SKG (c/n 019), 9V-SKH (c/n 021), 9V-SKI (c/n 034).
*Denotes A380s stored at Lourdes/Tarbes Airport, France.