Airbus blamed a recent series of A380 wing cracks on a combination of design and manufacturing flaws and said it had worked out a two-stage solution, while stressing the superjumbo was in the meantime safe to fly.

The European planemaker confirmed a Reuters report that it had discovered more cracks during inspections ordered by safety authorities this week, but declined to give further details before the end of a first phase of inspections due on Friday.

The A380 is safe to fly, Tom Williams, executive vice president of programs at Airbus, said.

The cracks were caused by a combination of the choice of aluminum alloy for certain wing brackets as well as stresses imposed by two parts of the manufacturing process, he said.