Key Points:

  • After landing at Nice from Dubai, a damaged slat was discovered on an Emirates-operated Airbus A380.

  • During its approach, the aircraft's crew reported an "abnormal noise" and "slight vibrations."

  • Investigation agency BEA has not clarified if the incident was due to a system malfunction or an external collision.

Unexplained damage discovered on slat assembly of Emirates A380 post-arrival

PARIS — After an Emirates-operated Airbus A380 made its approach to Nice's runway 04L on 18 August, arriving from Dubai, the aircraft's crew reported unusual occurrences. The team encountered an "abnormal noise" and perceived "slight vibrations" as they transitioned the plane's high-lift system into the initial landing setting, termed 'CONF 1'. This configuration entails the extension of the leading-edge slats to an angle of 20 degrees, all the while the flaps remain withdrawn.

Post-landing inspections unveiled significant damage to the upper surface of the aircraft's second slat on the starboard wing. It's worth noting that the A380's high-lift system is equipped with eight slats on each wing, with the second slat positioned inboard, in close proximity to the wing root.

The French investigation agency BEA has taken up the investigation. Currently, they have not specified whether the reported disturbances were due to an internal system glitch or a possible external interference, such as a collision.

Details regarding the particular Airbus A380, identified by BEA as A6-EOM, have been shared. This eight-year-old aircraft, which boasts Engine Alliance GP7200 engines, was handed over to Emirates, the prominent Middle Eastern airline, back in 2015. Post-incident, the plane stayed at Nice for a few days, eventually making its journey back to Dubai on 22 August.