Yesterday, I noted a report suggesting composite cracks had been discovered on a Qatar Airways A350. Now Airbus has refuted that report and claimed the A350 fuselage cracking was “superficial” and “cosmetic” in nature.
Airbus: No Composite Cracks On A350
Qatar Airways refused to offer comment, instead referring me to Airbus.
An Airbus spokesperson noted:
Whilst undergoing a repaint at Shannon, Qatar Airways’ Airbus A350-900 aircraft was observed to have some irregularities on the surface coating.
The issue is superficial / cosmetic and only visible when the top coat of paint is stripped. It is not a structural composite issue!
In agreement with Qatar Airways the aircraft will be flown to Toulouse for further inspection -as a precaution- and re-painting. There is no safety concern.
The aircraft was to be painted in a special Qatari World Cup 2022 livery. When stripping the original paint, engineers in Shannon, Ireland found premature cracks in the composite fuselage. As the first Airbus A350 to be stripped for a new paint job, there is some concern other A350 aircraft will or have experienced the same issue.
This particular A350, A7-ALL, was involved in an accident in Male, Maldives (MLE) in 2018. While parked on a busy tarmac apron, an AirAsia X Airbus A330-300 clipped it, causing stabilizer damage. While unlikely, it is possible that the reported cracks may be linked to grand incident.
Airbus claims the cracking discovered on the A350 is only cosmetic in nature and no big deal. Nevertheless, the aircraft is undergoing a full inspection at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France.
image: Qatar Airways