Composite cracks were reportedly found on the fuselage of a four-year old Qatar Airways Airbus A350-900 undergoing a new paint job in Ireland. A stabilizer issue was also discovered. It will now be ferried to Airbus headquarters for further inspection.
Cracks Reportedly Found On Qatar Airways A350 Composite Fuselage
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.
While cracks can indicate many things, they are always cause for concern. Cracks, just like in a kitchen sink, can grow and lead to catastrophe.
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.
Some more impressions from today’s roll-out of the stripped A350 prior to ferry to TLS. pic.twitter.com/CBaqI6562M
— Oisín Tierney (@TierneyOisin) January 3, 2021
Live and Let’s Fly has reached out to Qatar Airways and Airbus for a comment and will update this post should either respond. While ferrying the aircraft to Airbus headquarters in Toulouse may simply be out of an abundance of caution or to deal with the stabilizer issue, Qatar Airways has its own maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) organization to maintain and repair aircraft in its fleet. Transporting the plane back to Toulouse suggests something else is at play.
Cracks were reportedly found on a Qatar Airways A350 undergoing a new paint job. This aircraft will now undergo further inspection by Airbus in Toulouse.
image: Qatar Airways