Singapore Airlines is working closely with Airbus to ensure its A380 doors are in compliance with the airframer’s All Operators Telex (AOT) concerning the potential for cracks to form on the super jumbo’s doors, though the carrier is staying mum on the impact to its operation.
Issued by Airbus in January, the AOT required all A380 operators to inspect any main deck door that is reported to be noisy in-flight, after a Singapore Airlines A380 made an emergency landing in Azerbaijan due to a loss of cabin pressure that was later traced to a damaged door. When the event occurred, Airbus had already been conducting fatigue testing on A380 doors after finding “some issues of fatigue earlier than we had anticipated”.
The AOT inspection required:
- Visual inspection of coverplate for delamination and crack
- Visual inspection of door seal for significant damages
- Ultrasonic inspection of the external surface of the door skin where the coverplate is attached to the door
Airbus has defined a final fix with its door suppliers, and is currently working with EASA to achieve airworthiness approval for the solution, though EASA has not ruled out the possibility of issuing an airworthiness directive to address the issue.
A Singapore Airlines spokesman tells RGN that the carrier “is in full compliance with the AOTs issued by Airbus relating to A380 door inspections, and we will continue to work closely with Airbus on this issue, including on any modifications that may need to be carried out”.
He did not respond to questions regarding the number of A380s in Singapore Airlines’ fleet that will require the door modification; when the carrier expects the modifications to start; and if the issue has impacted any of its other refurbishment plans for the A380. The carrier also did not respond to a question about whether it expects Airbus to cover the cost of the door modification.
“Details of the modification have not been finalized,” says the Singapore Airlines spokesman. With respect to the safety of the carrier’s A380s, he said, “We have full confidence in the aircraft.”
Airbus says 10% of all A380s are affected. It would make sense that initial deliveries are impacted since fatigue obviously starts showing on aircraft with more cycles, and this might explain why Emirates – the second carrier to launch A380 operations after Singapore Airlines – is smarting from the issue.
Lufthansa, meanwhile, says its A380s are in no way impacted by the door problem. The German operator, which received its first A380 in May 2010, told RGN in New York this week, “Lufthansa is not affected by this issue with the doors. Our A380s are flying, and we don’t see any reason to [mod].”
Asked if Lufthansa believes it will require the door mod in the future, the carrier said, “I don’t think so.”
Qatar Airways has declined to comment on whether or not the door issue is factoring into the delay in delivery of its first A380.