World's largest passenger plane may be unsafe, some say

Some aircraft engineers in Australia are concerned about small cracks that have appeared on the wing ribs of some Airbus A380 airplanes, a report says. They're calling for the whole fleet to be grounded, but Airbus says the cracks are harmless.

An Airbus A380 under construction. Kathleen Craig

The world's largest passenger plane may not be sky-worthy, some aircraft engineers in Australia are saying.

The BBC reports that the engineers are concerned about small cracks that have appeared on the wing ribs of some Airbus A380 airplanes, and that they're calling for the whole fleet to be grounded for investigation.

The cracks were found on A380s operated by Singapore Airlines and Qantas Airways, the BBC reports, and Singapore Airlines says it has repaired the wings of two of its A380s.

Airbus recommends that airlines check for cracks but says they present no real danger. The BBC quotes the following from a statement by the company:

"We confirm that minor cracks were found on some noncritical wing rib-skin attachments on a limited number of A380 aircraft. We have traced the origin. Airbus has developed an inspection and repair procedure, which will be done during regular, routine scheduled four-year maintenance checks. In the meantime, Airbus emphasizes that the safe operation of the A380 fleet is not affected."

But Steve Purvinas, secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, disagrees. "We can't continue to gamble with people's lives and allow those aircraft to fly around and hope that they make it until their four-yearly inspection," the BBC quotes Purvinas as saying.

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