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Monday, January 23, 2012

SIA Starts A380 Crack Inspection

Singapore Airlines Friday started inspecting an Airbus A380 in response to a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) airworthiness directive that operators examine their A380s for potential cracks in a wing component.
The airline’s spokesman says SIA anticipates that the new inspection regime will in no way disrupt day-to-day operations.
He says SIA has 15 A380s in service, which is one or two more than it needs to maintain its current A380 flight schedule, so taking one out of service for inspections will not cause disruptions.
The airworthiness directive (AD) covers mainly high-cycle A380s. SIA is the lead operator for the aircraft type. As a precaution the airline decided to commence the inspections immediately, before the AD was issued, says the SIA spokesman, adding that the first inspection has begun. The AD was issued later Friday.
The AD comes after Airbus alerted EASA it found a new set of cracks affecting L-shaped brackets inside the wing of relatively high-cycle A380s. The cracks are more significant than the hairline cracks earlier discovered.
Inspecting the brackets involves draining the fuel-tanks inside the wing and opening an access panel so one can look inside the wing and do a visual inspection. SIA’s spokesman declines to say how much time it takes to do the inspection, but reiterates that the new inspection regime will have no impact on SIA’s A380 operation.
The spokesman also says the latest type of cracking identified by EASA in no way poses a threat to safety. Each wing has around 2,000 of the L-shaped brackets per wing, so the failure of one is not seen as a safety issue.

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