China Southern puts A380 back into service
Updated: 2011-10-31 17:20
By Hou Lei (chinadaily.com.cn)
China Southern Airlines Airbus A380. [File Photo]
China Southern Airlines' Airbus A380 superjumbo was cleared for operation Monday after being grounded for two days due to a mechanical fault, China National Radio's website (CNR.com) reported.
The carrier grounded its A380, the first and only one currently in service in China, for mechanical problems relating to flap power and the drive unit Saturday, just 12 days after beginning operation in the country.
The glitch was fixed Sunday night and the aircraft carried out the scheduled CZ3000 flight from Beijing to Guangzhou early Monday smoothly.
Since there are no spare parts in stock to fix the flap power drive unit glitches, China Southern had to transport them from its producer, the Germany-based Liebherr Group, which caused the grounding of the superjumbo.
"Since the flap power drive units are usually quite reliable, we do not stock backup parts, that is why we had to bring a new unit from a foreign country," Peng Jun, a senior China Southern party official told CNR.com.
"It is normal for a new aircraft to have glitches after being put into operation," Peng added.
Since being introduced in 2007, glitches have temporarily grounded A380s owned by various carriers several times without causing danger to passengers. Air France, Singapore Airlines and Qantas have all experienced groundings in the past.
The superjumbo has been involved in only one aviation incident in which a Qantas plane suffered an uncontained engine failure, forcing it to return to Singapore on Nov 4, 2010.
"The grounding of A380 doesn't mean it has safety issues, on the contrary, the quick finding of mechanical faults proves its reliability and safety, " Professor Li Xiaojin from Civil Aviation University of China told CNR.com.
"The key problems relating to safety have already been solved in test flights and the rest are needed to be improved gradually in daily operations to make everything perfect," said Li.
China Southern Airlines is the seventh operator of A380s globally following Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qantas, Air France, Lufthansa and Korean Air.