FAA orders Airbus A380 engine inspections. U.S. air-safety regulators have issued an emergency order requiring airlines to inspect engines on roughly 120 Airbus A380 superjumbo jets world-wide, prompted by an engine that violently broke apart during an Air France flight at the end of September.
The safety directive issued Thursday by the Federal Aviation Administration covers all engines manufactured for Airbus SE A380s by a joint venture comprising General Electric Co. and United Technologies Corp.’s Pratt & Whitney unit. The partnership supplies engines for roughly 60 percent of the global A380 fleet, with Emirates Airline operating the majority of the affected four-engine, double-decker aircraft.
The move by the FAA, which certified the engine as did European regulators 10 years ago, requires inspections to start as quickly as two weeks, depending on the number of trips they have flown. The directive follows a nonbinding service bulletin issued by the engine alliance.
The FAA wants operators to inspect front fan hubs — disks that hold rotating blades — for possible defects or damage. The manufacturer said the checks take roughly two hours and can be done without removing engines from aircraft.
Responding to questions for the alliance, a General Electric spokesman said in an email that the inspections are precautionary and “a root cause has not been established.” The rest of the GP7200 engine fleet “powers the A380 around the clock,” according to the statement, and “we aren’t aware of any issues” that would threaten flight safety.