Comeback of the “super jumbo” – but now Emirates is sounding the alarm
Cracks discovered in the Airbus A380!
First publicly scolded, then the big comeback: The Airbus A380 is back on everyone’s lips and in great demand. But now the airline Emirates has discovered cracks in the “superjumbo” – four planes are grounded.
The Airbus A380 made a comeback this year.
Nicholas ImfeldEditor Economics
The Airbus A380 was once hailed by aviation fans and aviation experts. Superlatives such as “giant of the air”, “superjumbo” or “miracle bird” alternated. No wonder, the A380 is a record jet. With space for up to 853 passengers, it is the largest and at the same time the quietest aircraft in the world for the occupants. So quiet that the pilots now heard the noise of the passengers instead of the constant hum of the engines and therefore slept poorly.
But then came the corona pandemic – and the abrupt end of the A380 seemed sealed. Industry giants such as Qatar Airways boss Akbar Al Baker settled accounts with the Airbus type in summer 2021. “Buying the A380 was the biggest mistake we’ve ever made,” he complained in an interview, explaining: “We grounded the A380 because it’s a very fuel-inefficient aircraft.” A comeback? Seemed impossible. And yet, a year later, everything is different again.
Cracks in the wing
The discarded A380 fleet was revived last winter, and not just at Qatar Airways. British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Korean Air have also brought back the super jumbo. The airline with the most superjumbos in operation remains Emirates. But there are new problems there.
Emirates technicians have discovered cracks in the wing spars of older A380 models. The wing spar is the supporting component of an aircraft wing, i.e. the wing. Four machines are currently on the ground, as reported by “Aviation Week”.
More problems found
“Airbus has sent around 60 engineers to Dubai to deal with the problem,” said Emirates President Tim Clark to the industry portal. “Airbus is in the process of fixing everything. We have to have the bars reworked in various areas.” The work should take about a week per plane.
Should airline passengers be concerned? “At the moment it’s not a security problem, we’re a long way from that,” Clark said. Nevertheless, Emirates announced an additional inspection program for the wing spars.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) identified further problems when the A380 aircraft were put back into service. In some tests, the seams of the escape slides had opened. Therefore, in mid-November, the authority ordered that some of the evacuation slides manufactured by Collins that had been in storage for more than 185 days had to be replaced.