A team of Australian engineers are concerned about cracks that they've found in the wings of some A380s. But why is Airbus doing nothing about it?
The BBC reports that the engineers found small cracks in the wing ribs of the gigantic planes operated by Singapore Airlines and Qantas Airways. Singapore Airlines also says that it has already had to replace the wings of two of its A380s.
The team of engineers are calling for the whole fleet of A380s to be grounded for investigation. Speaking to the BBC, Steve Purvinas, secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, said:
"We can't continue to gamble with people's lives and allow those aircraft to fly around and hope that they make it until their four-yearly inspection."
But Airbus are reluctant to cooperate. They've issued a statement admitting that minor cracks have appeared, but deny that it's anything to worry about:
"We confirm that minor cracks were found on some non-critical wing rib-skin attachments on a limited number of A380 aircraft. We have traced the origin. Airbus has developed an inspection and repair procedure, which will be done during regular, routine scheduled four-year maintenance checks. In the meantime, Airbus emphasises that the safe operation of the A380 fleet is not affected."
It's not the first time something's gone wrong with an A380: a particularly scary-looking engine explosion in 2010 prompted concern, too. If I were Airbus, I'd be thinking long and hard about those little cracks. [BBC]