Cracks force Qantas A380 out of service

Qantas has taken one of its Airbus A380 superjumbos out of service after cracks were discovered in its wings.

The carrier said Airbus has confirmed to the airline that the cracks do not pose a threat to safety.

They are different from the type of cracks discovered in the wings of some A380s last month that prompted a European Aviation Safety Agency directive, Qantas said.

Airbus requested precautionary inspections of the Qantas aircrfat’s wings after it ran into severe turbulence above India in early January.

“During these inspections minor cracking has been found on some wing rib feet,” a Qantas spokeswoman said. This cracking is not related to the turbulence, or specific to Qantas, but is traced back to a manufacturing issue, she said.

Qantas said it expects to have the aircraft back in service within a week.

The airline last month found “minor” cracks on another one of its A380s. The spokeswoman told Dow Jones Newswires that the “type two” cracking that prompted the airworthiness directive had not been found on Qantas aircraft.

Airbus has consistently said that the double-deck aircraft remains safe.

It said in late last month that the cracks that prompted the airworthiness directive stem from design and production issues, not structural fatigue from flying, but don’t indicate deeper problems with the plane.

The European Aviation Safety Agency in January ordered inspections of 20 of the 68 A380s in service.

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