European air safety officials are preparing to extend checks for Airbus A380 wing cracks to the entire superjumbo fleet, sources close to the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
The move to inspect all 68 A380s in service came as Qantas Airways
By signaling that the defects may be structural and widespread, the fleet-wide inspection order will refocus attention on flaws identified in flagship jets at both Airbus and Boeing
This is an extension of a process already underway, said one of the people, who asked not to be named. An effective repair has been identified.
Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co.
The aviation watchdog last month ordered checks on one-third of the A380 fleet after cracks were found in a handful of the thousands of L-shaped brackets that fix each wing's exterior to its internal ribcage-like structure.
EASA has yet to set out a timetable for the new inspections, two aviation sources said. Planes will be checked as they cross wear-and-tear thresholds at which the tiny cracks become detectable.
Inspectors had initially focused on 20 aircraft operated by Singapore Airlines
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(Reporting by Tim Hepher; writing by Laurence Frost; Editing by Geert De Clercq and Jane Merriman)