Reuters has reported this morning that Qantas had decided to ground one of its A380s as a result of discovering the same types of cracks within the wing structure that have plagued other A380s recently.
As a result the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)has issued a directive to now require inspections of ALL A380s regardless of age. Previously the EASA had required inspections only on certain A380 that had met certain criteria based on their age and flight cycles. The EASA has not issued a deadline for these inspections at this point.
Personally, if I were the decision maker within the EASA I would order an immediate grounding of the A380 fleet and order inspections and repairs to take place immediately. Heck, if I am a decision maker within an Airline, I would ground my fleet until I was assured that my passengers would not be at risk. Call me an alarmist, but I’d rather be safe than sorry in this scenario!!
Even though they have always stated that these issues are not putting passengers in risk, how can they be certain? Anytime you have the word ‘crack’ and ‘wing’ in the same sentence has to cause alarm!
What I’m afraid of here is that the EASA may be factoring in economics in its equation which could jeopardize passenger safety. Grounding a fleet obviously would cost millions upon millions in service disruptions.
I’d rather have airlines cancel flights or re-tool their timetables in the short term and fix these issues beyond reproach, versus having to read about a passenger airliner disaster that could have been prevented.