Airbus welcomes the united industry position on acceptable tolerance levels for flight operations in the current environment agreed last night. Over the last few days, Airbus initiated discussions among the aviation community and provided full technical assistance to the authorities and its airline customers. These industry-wide discussions lead to a common evaluation of data and an agreed definition of acceptable tolerance levels. This enabled aviation authorities across Europe to assess the situation, reopen airspace and allow flights in safe conditions.
It was key for Airbus to find a common solution among the industry and propose a technical assessment in order to ensure business continuity for airline customers, their passengers and Airbus’ own operations. Thanks to the industry’s collective effort, a safe way to resume flights as soon as possible was found.
On Monday, an A380 flight test aircraft flew for three hours 50 minutes within French airspace and the A340-600 flight test aircraft for five hours in French and German airspace as per normal procedures. The flight test crew did not notice anything abnormal and the post flight inspection showed no irregularities.
In conjunction with all engine manufacturers, Airbus analysed the data available from these tests, as well as other tests performed by airlines in the European airspace and previous volcanic ash encounters involving Airbus and other manufacturers’ products. Other relevant knowledge of engine and aircraft operations in similar environments was also taken into account.
Airbus also provided recommendations to operators on how to return aircraft to service and determine which inspections should be applied, once European airspace is reopened.
Airbus, engine suppliers, other aircraft manufacturers and a number of airline customers will continue to work together to conduct further tests and closely monitor a significant number of aircraft in operation. Industry, research institutions and authorities together should review the lessons learnt and develop a sustainable way forward.