March 18, 2012 / 2:42 PM / in 6 years

Airbus expects years of grappling with A380 cracks

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Airbus will need years to get past problems with wing cracks on its flagship A380 passenger jet, the executive vice president of programs at Airbus told a German magazine.

An A380 aircraft is seen through a window with an Airbus logo during the EADS / Airbus 'New Year Press Conference' in Hamburg January 17, 2012. REUTERS/Morris Mac Matzen

“This problem will keep us busy for years,” weekly Der Spiegel quoted Tom Williams as saying in an article published on Sunday.

European air safety regulators last month ordered checks for A380 wing cracks for the entire superjumbo fleet after safety engineers found cracks in almost all planes inspected.

Airbus, the plane maker owned by EADS EAD.PA, has said a combination of design and manufacturing slips put too much stress on a handful of the 2,000 brackets that fix the exterior of each wing to the ribcage beneath.

The magazine said Williams aimed to present a solution for the problem in April, and Airbus will start installing new parts in planes by the end of the year.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Dan Lalor

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