The boss of Airbus has defended the safety of its A380 superjumbos despite the discovery of hairline cracks in brackets inside the wings of the world’s biggest plane.
Speaking at the Singapore Airshow, Chief Executive Tom Enders said he has ordered an internal investigation into how the company allowed the cracks to develop and vowed it would not happen again: “I can say this plane is absolutely safe to fly. I don’t want to go into all the specifics here. Are we learning from this? Absolutely. You heard me talking about taking lessons from the A380 programme for the A350 programme.”
The A350 is the fuel-efficient mid-sized jet Airbus is developing to compete with Boeing’s 787.
Enders would not comment on a German media report that the wing problem could cost 100 million euros to fix, but acknowledged it was likely to be “a bit of money”.
Replacing the aluminium alloy brackets in the wings means taking planes out of service for several days, for which Airbus will have to compensate the airlines.
Airbus has said a combination of design and manufacturing slips put too much stress on a handful of the 2,000 brackets that fix the exterior of each wing to the ribcage beneath, but Enders’ comments indicate he intends to dig deeper.