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FAA orders Airbus A380 engine inspections

Staff Writer |
U.S. air-safety regulators have issued an emergency order requiring airlines to inspect engines on roughly 120 Airbus A380 superjumbo jets world-wide.

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That was prompted by an engine that violently broke apart during an Air France flight at the end of September.

The safety directive issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) covers all engines manufactured for Airbus SE A380s by a joint venture comprising General Electric and United Technologies'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.

On September 30, one engine of an Air France A380 cruising at 37,000 feet over Greenland suffered a major failure with parts flying off and damaging nearby structures.

The plane landed safely and nobody was injured, but the circumstances prompted an intense international probe. Pictures showed the guts of the engine exposed, with large sections in front missing.

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