European Authorities Ordered a Fix to Reduce the Risk of Explosions on Airbus A350s
Operators of Airbus A350 aircraft are now aware of a new mandate in place to prevent overheating and even explosions on the aircraft. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said in an emergency airworthiness directive, which took effect on Thursday, that if A350-900 operators don't fix a software malfunction, the issue could cause a fire or explosion.
The directive explains that the hydraulic fluid cooling system is located in the fuel tanks, which could cause the temperature of the hydraulic fluid itself to rise quickly. As a result, the overheated liquid could potentially cause flames. The EASA order is requiring the operators of A350-900 aircraft to upload a software fix in order to combat the issue. As reported by Bloomberg, the manufacturer doesn't yet have a concrete solution, but it says a software fix should be available "in coming weeks."
So far, Airbus has delivered more than 100 of its A350s. Its largest customers are Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways. In addition, Delta Air Lines recently took delivery of its first A350 — the only US-based carrier to do so. (United and American have ordered the plane as well, but haven't begun receiving their A350s yet.)
Airbus said that it has informed the operators of its A350s of the issue and has asked them to monitor the system. The software fix is already available for testing on A350 simulators. The European directive affects all of the A350 models that are currently in operation, but the fleet is still flying normally.
"Airlines have to apply the AD and monitor the situation, but there is no other specific action required," an Airbus spokeswoman said. "It is business as usual and all operations are going ahead as planned."