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Airbus Understands A380 Wing Cracks, Working With Airlines

Airbus Understands A380 Wing Cracks, Working With Airlines
A Singapore Airlines Ltd. A380 superjumbo aircraft is parked at Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Australia. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Airbus SAS is working with airlines to overcome the wing cracks discovered in some A380 superjumbo aircraft, after European safety regulators called for deeper inspections to understand the cause of the fissures.

“It’s unfortunate,” Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said in Davos, Switzerland, in an interview at the World Economic Forum. “We understand the problem. We are working with airlines to mitigate their fears.”

Airlines operating Airbus’s A380 superjumbo must ground 20 planes or almost one-third of the world fleet within the next six weeks to check for wing cracks. The European Aviation Safety Agency issued a directive on Jan. 20 requiring inspections after the issue was discovered.

The A380 double-decker aircraft is the biggest commercial jet in operation, and Airbus has required years to smooth out production glitches and move the program toward profitability. The airliner is used by carriers including Emirates, Air France KLM Group, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Singapore Airlines, and has been a hit with travelers for its added space and perks that include private suites and showers for premium passengers.

Airbus wants to deliver about 30 of the aircraft to customers this year as it slowly ramps up production. Singapore was the first carrier to put the jet into service in 2007, and Emirates is the biggest customer, with 90 A380s on order in total.

“We are liaising closely with Airbus and we are carrying out the precautionary inspections as required by the airworthiness directive,” said Nicholas Ionides, a spokesman for Singapore Airlines. “We will ensure that we will take whatever action is needed for the continued safe operation of our A380 fleet.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Lyubov Pronina in Moscow at lpronina@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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