The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has mandated that operators of Airbus A330 family aircraft and A340-200/300 models perform repetitive inspections of the composite skins on the aircraft's left and right-side elevator assemblies from 15 December.

An earlier directive, issued by French regulators in 2004 after maintainers found debonding on the right-hand elevator of an A340 during a scheduled maintenance task, called for a one-time inspection to search for flaws in the sandwich structure of the skin panels of the aircraft models.

Along with the initial inspections defined in the previous directive, the new mandate calls for repeat inspections for evidence of debonding every six years.

"Investigation has revealed that this debonding may have been caused by water ingress and, if not detected and corrected, might compromise the structural integrity of the elevators," says EASA.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news