European regulators have ordered that airlines operating the Airbus A380 must inspect their older aircraft after cracks were detected in a handful of superjumbos around the world.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) instructed the first 25 Airbus A380 that entered service to go through a thorough inspection to ensure that there are no cracks found on the wings.
The EASA proposed an airworthiness directive on the issue of cracks in the wing outer rear spar in wing box assemblies made between 2004 and 2006. Cracks on the spar can reduce the structural integrity of the wing.
Airbus said: "We have identified the issue and designed an inspection and repair scheme."
Airbus also stated that the ongoing airworthiness of the Airbus A380 fleet was not affected.
Out of the 25 Airbus A380s to be inspected, nine belong to Emirates. Emirates is the world's largest operator of the Airbus A380, flying a total of 111 aircraft. Emirates have already begun scheduling and conducting the inspections on those aircraft identified. As of now, no cracks were found. The airline said that as the airworthiness is not compromised, they can continue operating as normal.
Qantas has the second most number of Airbus A380s to be inspected. Qantas had to remove six Airbus A380 from service. Qantas' Head Of Engineering, Chris Nook, mentioned that they have already completed inspections on two of the six Airbus A380 required to undergo inspections and there are no concerns with the structural integrity of the wings.
Singapore Airlines has also scheduled and begun inspection on four of their Airbus A380 identified by Airbus and the EASA to conduct inspections for cracks on the wings. The four aircraft that have been removed from service are registered 9V-SKG, 9V-SKH, 9V-SKI and 9V-SKF.
Other airlines which reportedly operate the aircraft in question include Air France and Lufthansa. However, all airlines operating the Airbus A380 are strongly encouraged to check their Airbus A380 before the aircraft is 15 years of age.
In 2012, Airbus was forced to carry out Airbus A380 inspections and devise repair programs after cracks were discovered, once again, on the Airbus A380 wings. This fault has cost Airbus millions of Euros to repair and service Airbus A380 fleets around the world.
Earlier this year, Airbus also announced that it will be ending the Airbus A380 program after it was deemed unprofitable. The manufacturer also cited a lack of demand for the aircraft.