Airbus to ask airlines to check wings of older A380s for cracks

A wing-crack debacle in 2012 cost Airbus millions of euros in repair and service costs. (File/AFP)
Updated 09 July 2019

Airbus to ask airlines to check wings of older A380s for cracks

  • A report dated July 5 said that “occurrences have been reported of finding cracks” in certain parts of the wing on in-service A380 aeroplanes
  • The directive does not yet ground any aircraft for the moment

PARIS: European aircraft maker Airbus will ask airlines operating 25 of its oldest A380 super-jumbo jets to inspect their wings after cracks were found in some models, the EU’s Aviation Safety Agency said.
The EASA said in an airworthiness directive dated July 5 that “occurrences have been reported of finding cracks” in certain parts of the wing on in-service A380 aeroplanes.
“This condition, if not detected and corrected, could reduce the structural integrity of the wing,” the EASA said.
“To address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus plans to issue the SB (service bulletin) to provide inspection instructions.”
The directive does not yet ground any aircraft for the moment.
The French daily Les Echos reported that the EASA, which is based in Germany, advised ultrasonic testing on 25 of the 234 A380 aircraft in operation, notably those built more than 15 years ago.
“This airworthiness directive is considered an interim action, limited to the 25 oldest wing sets,” the EASA said.
“Based on inspection findings, further AD action may follow to address additional in-service aeroplanes.”
It is not first time that the A380, the world’s biggest passenger aircraft, has experienced such problems.
A wing-crack debacle in 2012 cost Airbus millions of euros in repair and service costs.
In an emailed statement, Airbus said that “airworthiness directives are standard in aviation and demonstrate the regulatory process working well. Aviation is one of the most regulated of any sectors. Safety is the top priority in aviation.”
Airbus announced in February that it would stop building the A380, a double-decker jet which earned plaudits from passengers but failed to win over enough airlines to justify its massive costs.
US planemaker Boeing is still reeling from the grounding of its 737 MAX whose automatic flight handling software was seen as a factor in two crashes involving Ethiopian Airlines and Indonesia’s Lion Air.


Conflict-hit Libya to restart oil operations but with low output

Updated 10 July 2020

Conflict-hit Libya to restart oil operations but with low output

  • There is significant damage to the reservoirs and infrastructure
  • A first cargo of 650,000 barrels will be shipped by the Kriti Bastion Aframax tanker

TUNIS: Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) lifted force majeure on all oil exports on Friday as a first tanker loaded at Es Sider after a half-year blockade by eastern forces, but said technical problems caused by the shutdown would keep output low.
“The increase in production will take a long time due to the significant damage to reservoirs and infrastructure caused by the illegal blockade imposed on January 17,” NOC said in a statement.
A first cargo of 650,000 barrels will be shipped by the Kriti Bastion Aframax tanker, chartered by Vitol, which two sources at Es Sider port said had docked and started loading on Friday morning.
The blockade, which was imposed by forces in eastern Libya loyal to Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), has cost the country $6.5 billion in lost export revenue, NOC said.
“Our infrastructure has suffered lasting damage, and our focus now must be on maintenance and securing a budget for the work to be done,” NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in the statement.
Control over Libya’s oil infrastructure, the richest prize for competing forces in the country, and access to revenues, has become an ever-more significant factor in the civil war.
The internationally recognized Government of National Accord, supported by Turkey, has recently pushed back the LNA, backed by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt, from the environs of Tripoli and pushed toward Sirte, near the main oil terminals.