Airbus A380 operators are bracing for a major modification program to replace the doors on their double-decker aircraft, after Airbus issued an All Operators Telex (AOT) confirming a “door noise issue”.
The pending modification is being described by one A380 operator as even “more serious” than the cracks previously discovered in the wing fittings within the jumbo jet’s wings.
As a result, this carrier has stopped all other modification work of its A380s. “All 10 doors on our aircraft will have to be modified or replaced.”
A separate source says the problem stems from micro cracks caused by vibration and was found in the door itself, not the surrounding frame structure. But there seems to be some question over whether the modification will involve the aircraft frame as well. What is clear, says a source, is “this is a very extensive modification program and airlines affected have been briefed”.
In January, a Singapore Airlines A380 made an emergency landing in Azerbaijan due to a loss of cabin pressure. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that in responding to a flood of FaceBook posts, Singapore Airlines noted that noise was reported from a door during an earlier flight of the same plane. The newspaper reported that passenger Matthew G. Johnson said a “loud air noise was heard from the door five rows in front” shortly after take-off from Heathrow in London, and upon questioning, a crew member allegedly told him that the door had a “mild” leaking seal.
In an interview with Runway Girl Network today, an Airbus spokesman said the airframer has “identified and understands the root cause of the A380 door noise issue”. He says the manufacturer’s dedicated team has “defined a final fix with our door suppliers”, and that Airbus is working “in full alignment with EASA to achieve airworthiness approval for the solution. Airbus is defining the roll-out of the retrofit solution in the near future to minimize inconvenience for operators.”
In the meantime, he assures, the A380 “is safe to fly. Its airworthiness and safety is protected by an inspection program and remedial actions via All Operators Telex.”
Airbus declined to comment on whether it believes an airworthiness directive (AD) is pending, and EASA could not be immediately reached for comment. A source tells Runway Girl Network, “This is another multi-million dollar modification program with significant costs to Airbus.”