Air France plane grounded after technicians noticed 30 screws were missing from wing… after FIVE days of flights
- Airbus A340 grounded in Boston
- Large protective panel had to be screwed into place
- Air France blames mechanics in China
By Ian Sparks
25th November 2011
An Air France jet flew for five days before ground crews noticed that 30 screws were missing from one of its wings.
The Airbus A340 plane had undergone routine maintenance in China, before flying to Paris and then on to the US before the potentially disastrous blunder was finally spotted.
The plane, which can carry up to 440 passengers, was grounded in Boston while a ‘large protective panel’ was screwed back into place.
The gaffe was revealed in an internal union document leaked to French news agency AFP.
Air France have blamed aircraft mechanics in the Chinese city of Xiamen, were the airline’s jets are often serviced because of lower costs.
‘It was part of the outer covering of the wing and at no point was flight safety compromised.
But an aircraft construction expert said: ‘The piece itself may not have endangered the flight if it came off.
‘But there is always the risk that it could have struck and damaged another very important part of the aircraft as it became detached and blew away in flight.’
An Air France union spokesman described the oversight as ‘deplorable’.
He added: ‘Pieces of an aircraft should never simply go missing during maintenance. It is not the first time this has happened either.
‘Last year a Boeing 747 was grounded after undergoing maintenance in China because parts of the plane had been painted with flammable paint.’
The crash of an Air France Concorde 11 years ago, killing 113 people, was blamed on a strip of metal on the runway which punctured the plane’s tyres and sent rubber fragments flying into a fuel tank.
by Andy Hemmington December 2nd, 2011
Air France has suspended Chinese maintenance operations on its aircraft.
The Paris-based carrier has said that the decision was made after French workers had discovered some 30 screws to be missing from one of its Airbus A340 jets after undergoing maintenance operations by Chinese firm Taeco in mid-November.
The news came in Beijing on Thursday via Air France chief executive Alexandre de Juniac, who said that the company had stopped sending aircraft to Taeco and that an investigation is underway. Officials said the inquiry would take several days.
The Xiamen-based firm, whose other customers include JAL, Emirates, British Airways, Lufthansa and American Airlines, said it has launched its own investigation.
The company has worked on about 10 per cent of Air France’s long-haul fleet for nearly a decade, primarily Boeing 747s, according to Juniac. The A340 involved in the incident had been only the second one sent to Taeco for maintenance work. Planes are sent in for full service every six years and the process takes around four weeks, Juniac said.
The move follows the grounding of a Boeing 747-400 in 2010 after it was discovered that a Chinese company had repainted portions of the plane using flammable paints. The move came three weeks after the aircraft had returned into regular service.
(Same story as above with added verbage)
Air France suspended the maintenance of its aircraft by Chinese company Taeco after 30 screws were found to be missing from one of its planes.
The airline made the discovery in mid-November and said the screws were missing from a protective panel of an A340 plane after a full service by the Chinese company.
Taeco, based in Xiamen, southeast China, is one of the top service companies for long-haul planes and its other customers include British Airways, American Airlines, JAL, Emirates and Lufthansa.
“We stopped promulgation a aircraft for a time” in Taeco pronounced a trainer of Air France, tentative a result of a review by a air carrier, approaching to final “several days” .
Taeco, which is formed in Xiamen, southeast China, is one of the top service companies for long-haul planes and is a personality in a upkeep of vast aircraft as well as functions together with Lufthansa, British Airways, American Airlines, JAL as well as Emirates. The Chinese upkeep association voiced Tuesday it had additionally non-stop an review in to a incident.
Taeco provides for some-more than 4 years complicated upkeep of Boeing 747 of Air France, “10% of a long-haul fleet”, says of Juniac who pronounced which It was a second A340 of a French association to go to Xiamen for a finish maintenance.
These “big hits” , which concerned all 6 years, final a small over a month as well as price “several million” , an central of Air France.
The series of aircraft confirmed by Air France is enclosed Taeco “between 5 as well as 7 aircraft per year” , says of Juniac. Air France pronounced progressing in a matter which a series of aircraft concerned was “less than 5 year” .
Boeing 747-400 Air France had already been stopped final year after a “Grand Tour” in China: a little walls of a aircraft were repainted with paint potentially flammable. The aircraft had flown for 3 weeks. Several Air France unions have laid open a outsourcing of upkeep to a low-cost countries similar to China.