Investigators Probing Engine Explosion On Air France A380 in 2017, Urgent Checks to Be Done

Investigators probing an engine explosion on an Air France A380 in 2017 are studying a possible manufacturing flaw in a recently salvaged cracked half in a move likely to trigger vigorous checks on dozens of Airbus superjumbos, experts familiar with the subject stated.

The focus of a two-year-old inquiry into the mid-air blast over Greenland, which left the aircraft carrying more than 500 passengers with the one engine front missing, has shifted to the lately recovered “fan hub,” the individuals said.

The titanium alloy half is the centerpiece of a 3-meter-wide fan on engines constructed for the world’s largest airliner by U.S. based Engine Alliance, co-owned by United Technologies and General Electric unit Pratt & Whitney.

It had sat immersed in Greenland’s ice sheet since September 2017 when one of four engines on Air France flight 66 abruptly disconnected en route from Paris to Los Angeles. It was levered out from the ice in June after a high-tech aerial radar search.

Confirming the focus of the scrutiny after some reports the plans for inspections, France’s BEA air accident agency said it had found a “sub-surface fatigue crack” on the recovered part, and the engine maker was preparing inspections.

The people familiar with the matter connected the crack to a speculated manufacturing defect and said the checks – to be carried out instantly on engines that have managed a certain number of flights – would affect dozens of the double-decker jets.

The checks will include taking some planes out of service outside their usual maintenance schedules, one source said.