Airbus expects A380 wing-fix certification in early 2013

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Airbus is expecting to complete the certification process for its modified A380 wing in early 2013, as it prepares to take the first components for the structure.

Design of the wing has been changed to remove a number of hybrid wing ribs following the cracking problem which affected brackets on the type.

Airbus has developed an interim fix for in-service aircraft but is expecting the first set of metallic ribs, for the permanent fix, to arrive at the Broughton wing facility in the UK this week.

These ribs will be integrated into the production cycle and used to build wings for A380s which will be delivered in 2014.

Airbus is in the final stages of European Aviation Safety Agency certification for the change.

"The first part is pretty much done," said Airbus executive vice-president for programmes Tom Williams, speaking during an event in Broughton. He adds that the second part of the approval is expected in the early part of next year.

"We're still proceeding on plan," he says, adding that modifications are "progressing well".

Airbus expects some 120 A380s to be delivered before the permanent fix is fully in place.

But Williams says the initial results from testing on an A380 prototype "look good", adding: "We've had no dramatic issues come out. No-one's rushed into the room."