Airbus Chews on A380 ‘Teething Troubles’

 - March 30, 2009, 10:48 AM

European jetliner manufacturer Airbus has acknowledged operators’ “teething troubles,” but it characterizes the A380’s entry into service as “very successful.” The comments follow technical incidents involving 13 aircraft flying with Emirates Airline, Qantas and Singapore Airlines, as well as reported dissatisfaction at Emirates, the A380’s largest customer.

Airbus told AIN that it has “no meaningful dispatch reliability” statistics, but that the A380 remains “on target with expectations.” Since service entry in October 2007, A380s have accumulated 32,000 flight hours in 3,300 revenue flights carrying 1.3 million passengers. The operators have had to cancel several flights or use replacement aircraft following incidents that included faulty fuel-quantity readings, avionics problems, fuel leaks and a steering defect. In early March, Qantas suffered problems with all three of its aircraft almost simultaneously; it has increased inspections while awaiting Airbus’ judgment on the cause of fuel system anomalies.

Emirates confirmed to AIN its discussion of “various technical issues” with Airbus in February, matters it said it “expected with new aircraft that use many new technologies.” It denied delaying delivery of any aircraft. Singapore Airlines did not respond to AIN’s inquiries.