Europe's safety regulator has ordered urgent inspections on almost a third of the Airbus A380 fleet after after the discovery of wing cracks on the world's largest jetliner.
According to Reuters, the European Aviation Safety Agency issued its airworthiness directive after the European plane maker "disclosed two sets of cracks on its A380s just two weeks apart."
"This condition, if not detected and corrected, could potentially affect the structural integrity of the aeroplane," EASA said, the Daily Mirror reported.
One-off inspections "visual inspections" of the the "wing rib feet" — the metal brackets that connect the wing's ribs to its skin — have reportedly been ordered on 20 superjumbos operated by Singapore Airlines, Dubai's Emirates and Air France.
However, 68 of the 525-seat double-decker jets are flying with seven airlines, according to the Mirror.
Reuters wrote that:
No superjumbos have been grounded but the most heavily used aircraft -- those subjected to at least 1,800 take-offs and landings that impose the most strain on an airframe — must be examined within four days, authorities said.
Airbus said the cracking on the A380s, which entered service four years ago, did not affect flight safety.
The Mirror cited the company as saying: "Airbus emphasizes these cracks do not affect the safe operation of the aircraft."
Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath reportedly said that modifications were under way "regarding production of future aircraft."