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Airbus discovers more cracks on A380 superjumbo wings

Airbus has discovered more cracks in the wings of two A380 superjumbo aircraft, but insists that the jetliner is safe to fly.

The announcement comes two weeks after tiny cracks were first reported in the wings of the 525-seat, double-decker aircraft, which entered service just over four years ago.

"Airbus confirms that some additional cracks have been found on a limited number of non-critical brackets inside the wings of some A380s," the planemaker said.

"Airbus emphasises that these cracks do not affect the safe operation of the aircraft."

The European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) confirmed it would issue a bulletin mandating precautionary checks.

The latest cracking problem was discovered in two aircraft during a routine two-year inspection, an Airbus spokeswoman said, but declined to name the operators of the aircraft.

EADS subsidiary Airbus has so far delivered 68 superjumbos, starting with Singapore Airlines which took the first aircraft in Dec. 2007, followed by Dubai's Emirates and Qantas Airways of Australia.

Other operators include Air France, Germany's Lufthansa, Korean Air and China Southern.

The latest problems were discovered in the same type of part as the earlier set of cracks, an L-shaped bracket which connects the wing's exterior to the internal "rib" structure.

A380 wings are manufactured in Broughton, north Wales, and shipped to Airbus headquarers in Toulouse, France, for final assembly.

Industry journal Air Transport Intelligence said the brackets, known as rib feet, had been stressed during the manufacturing process and that this was being fixed.

The A380 - developed at an estimated cost of 12 billion euros and built in Britain, France, Germany and Spain - has enough room on its wings to park 70 cars and a wingspan of 79.8m

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