The modifications needed to repair wing rib cracks on Emirates’ in-service Airbus A380s are causing “enormous” operations problems. The airline has lost around $100 million as a result. Its president Tim Clark tells ATW that the cracks in the A380 wing rib feet construction have caused “great difficulty”, affecting Emirates’ expansion plans. Repairs have been continuing for longer than initially estimated.
Four months ago, the European Aviation Safety Agency issued a directive ordering inspections of the wing ribs in all in-service A380s. Emirates grounded six of the planes, which have been replaced by Boeing 777-300Ers.
“That means 30% of our A380 fleet stopped flying,” Clark says. “Each [was] flying 15 hours daily, [with a] 90% load factor. We have to handle it, because we have no choice. It is a hugely successful airplane for us.”