Inspections for cracks in the vicinity of Airbus A380 wing spars must take into account the amount of time the aircraft has been parked in storage, safety regulators have instructed.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has updated its criteria for determining inspection intervals for the affected areas – specifically flanges between certain ribs on the front and rear spars.

This issue dates back to 2019, when it initially applied to older A380 airframes.

EASA subsequently expanded the inspection regime to all A380s, and reduced the time between inspections.

The air transport crisis prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in several carriers withdrawing A380s from service and placing them in storage. But capacity demands have spurred a number of operators to return the double-deck type to service.


Source: Airbus

“Prompted by analysis of further inspection results, it was determined that the threshold for [spar] inspection must depend on more criteria than only the wing age,” says EASA.

“The severity of [outer rear spar] findings showed a relationship with the amount of time an [aircraft] spends on ground [parked or stored] in severe environmental conditions.”

EASA says this consideration means there is a need for operators to take factored time on ground into consideration, and it has updated an airworthiness directive for the A380 wing checks, instructing operators to calculate this time-on-ground and, accordingly, determine compliance times for inspection.