Summary Box: Safety Agency Wants A380s Checked

Published January 20, 2012 6:45PM (EST)

CRACK IN THE SKY: Europe's air safety authority told airlines Friday to inspect nearly a third of the world's A380 superjumbo jets within about six weeks after Airbus found new cracks in metal brackets inside the wings.

BY THE NUMBERS: the order applies to 20 A380s. Sixty-eight of the double-decker, $390 million jets are flying with seven airlines — including Dubai's Emirates, the largest A380 operator with 20 of the aircraft now flying. The jet seats 525 people in three classes.

SAFE TO FLY? Aircraft that have racked up 1,800 or more takeoff and landing cycles will have to be checked within four days, or another 14 cycles. Planes that have flown more than 1,300 will need checking within six weeks, or 84 cycles. Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath said that, in the meantime, "continued safe operation of the fleet is guaranteed." He said modifications are under way on future aircraft.

By Salon Staff

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