Since its entry into service in October 2007, the A380 has seen several groundings due to unrelated faults within the fuel system:
[Lyell Strambi, the airline's executive general manager of operations] denied the fuel-tank problem raised questions about the airline's decision to purchase 20 A380s from manufacturer Airbus for $350 million each, describing the issues as "a few teething problems".
But he refused to rule out the possibility of a problem with the aircraft's design.
"Is this a problem with design? It's too early to tell. We'll have to work out what's caused the contamination in the tank.
February 18, 2008 - SIA - Problem source traced to electrical relay powering fuel pump.The new jet has been subject to a higher level of visibility because of the unprecedented size of the airliner, yet all new jets have their teething problems.
March 24, 2008 - SIA - Problem traced to "premature failure" of the fuel pump.
March 1, 2009 - QFA - One aircraft prompts cancellation due to fuel leak.
March 2, 2009 - QFA - Two aircraft grounded due to fuel probe contamination.
During the February 2008 cancellation Airbus said the A380 had been operating with a dispatch reliability of more than 99.5 percent. Adding, "Like with a normal car, things can happen, things need to be repaired."
Though, when discussing the dispatch reliability of an aircraft type with a fleet of only 13 aircraft operating worldwide, aircraft related cancellations or groundings can greatly skew the average drastically.
Overall, Mr. Strambi said of his airline's three superjumbos: "The A380 is actually a fantastic aircraft and, until now, we've had a very good entry to service with the aircraft."
Image courtesy of David Barrie