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Airbus: Permanent wing fix for A380 will take 8 weeks per plane


It wasn’t long after Airbus started shipping its Airbus A380 super jumbo jet several years ago that mechanics and inspectors started finding fatigue cracks in wing brackets on a handful of aircraft. The company worked up a costly short-term fix, as well as a regimen of wing inspections at regular intervals. Now, Airbus has a permanent fix for each of the 75 A380s in the air, but that process will take up to two months per plane to perform. The problem, the company said, involves both an overly rigid aluminum alloy used in the wing brackets, as well as the stress of putting fasteners through the brackets during assembly. The fix uses redesigned brackets with different materials, but requires disassembling large portions of each wing at its root to replace the brackets. So far, Airbus has been covering the cost of short term repairs, about $315 million to date. It won’t be until 2014 before Airbus changes its manufacturing process to incorporate the long-term fix; airlines can either opt for the modification once they have their new aircraft or delay delivery, Airbus said.