Passengers leaving an Emirates flight on Friday spotted a large hole gouged into the side of the plane after it landed in Brisbane, Australia.
The Airbus A380 had flown for nearly 14 hours from Emirates’ main hub, Dubai, with some passengers reporting that the incident may have happened during or shortly after take-off.
Though the “superjumbo” has remained on the ground at Brisbane Airport since Friday, Emirates said in a statement that the incident did not have “any impact on the fuselage, frame or structure of the aircraft”.
The incident occurred on flight EK430 on 1 July, with the Aviation Herald reporting that pilots had contacted Air Traffic Control at Brisbane Airport shortly before landing to report that they suspected they had blown a tyre on take-off, and requesting to be met by emergency services on landing.
The aircraft landed safely and no passengers were reported injured or even evacuated.
One passenger from the flight, identified as Patrick, told Australia’s Courier Mail that he had heard a concerning noise around 45 minutes into the flight.
“There was a loud bang and I felt it through the floor as well,” he said.
“The cabin crew remained calm, stopped the food service and got on the phone and checked the wings, engines.”
Another passenger, Chris, told the Courier Mail: “Before we landed they told us we had to land on a different runway and get an engineer to inspect the plane for a suspected landing gear problem.”
The Herald reported that the hole was made in the left hand wing root fairing, a part of the “skin” of the plane where the wing meets the cabin that is shaped to reduce drag while in flight.
An Emirates spokesperson said: “Our flight EK430 flying from Dubai to Brisbane on 1 July experienced a technical fault. One of the aircraft’s 22 tyres ruptured during cruise, causing damage to a small portion of the aerodynamic fairing, which is an outer panel or the skin of the aircraft.
“At no point did it have any impact on the fuselage, frame or structure of the aircraft. The aircraft landed safely in Brisbane and all passengers disembarked as scheduled.
“The fairing has been completely replaced, checked and cleared by engineers, Airbus and all relevant authorities. The safety of our passengers and crew has always been our top priority.”
The A380 is the world’s biggest passenger plane, which has somewhat fallen out of favour in recent years. However, the model looks set to make a return to the skies.
Singapore Airlines and Qantas have returned the jet to service, soon to be followed by Japanese carrier ANA and South Korea’s Asiana Airlines.
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