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New Airbus A380 Wing Cracks Prompt More Super Jumbo Inspections

Airbus SAS A380 aircraft will require another round of inspections after European safety officials raised concerns over wing-component cracks on the world’s largest passenger airliner.

An inboard wing bracket has revealed signs of developing cracks that could potentially cause a panel to detach during flight, “possibly resulting in injury to persons on the ground,” the European Aviation Safety Agency said today. The Cologne, Germany-based agency requires “repetitive detailed visual inspections” of the affected area of the wing and the replacement or repair of the component if a fault is found.

“This is a standard airworthiness directive with no immediate action required and is therefore nothing critical,” Airbus spokeswoman Marcella Muratore said in an e-mail. A full fix is due to be available next year.

Airbus is already engaged with EASA to remedy a more far-reaching issue with cracks of a component in a different part of the wing on its flagship aircraft. Airbus is working with EASA to gain approval of a final repair. The company has redesigned its wing production process to avoid the issue on new-build A380s.

Airbus-parent European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. expects the total cost of dealing with the initial wing component fault to exceed 300 million euros ($376 million), in part because it must compensate airlines that were forced to ground the aircraft as interim repairs were made.

EASA issued a second A380-related safety message today, after one airline experienced jamming of a door on the upper-deck of the double-decker airliner.

The situation “could lead to the functional loss of the emergency exit doors of the upper deck, possibly preventing the passengers and the flight crew from safely evacuating the aeroplane during an emergency,” the agency said.

Airlines are being given 15 months to deal with that issue, the agency said.

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