Emirates Airline, the biggest customer so far for the Airbus A380, yesterday said it was unhappy with having to ground its existing fleet for up to eight weeks per aircraft.
A crack problem has beset the wings on the double-decker airliner.
"Of course we are not happy, but we have to live with it," said Tim Clark,the carrier's president, who was attending the International Air Transport Association's annual meeting in Beijing yesterday.
"There was an error in design and specification of metals and plastic composite to the aircraft. They have made detailed studies of what happened and what they have to do."
Mr Clark noted that it was taking quite a long time "because we have the largest fleet. It's just a burden for us, [but] it's hugely expensive for Airbus".
Emirates has ordered 90 A380s in total, and has already taken delivery of 21. It has 14 more scheduled for delivery and all will require the eight-week removal from service, John Leahy, the chief operating officer for Airbus, told Bloomberg News.
The wing-crack debacle has cost EADS, the Airbus parent, more than €250 million (Dh1.1 billion) in repair and service costs.
Airbus engineers last month confirmed they had developed a permanent fix for A380s already in service, and devised design changes to eliminate the problem from aircraft still under construction.
Once safety authorities have approved the change, Airbus can alter manufacturing of the wings, allowing aircraft coming off the production line to be free of the defect by January 2014.
Airbus has traced the cause of the cracks to the choice of a less flexible aluminum alloy used to make the wing brackets, as well as the way in which fasteners are put through holes, and the stresses involved in fitting portions of the wing together.
The interim fix has been applied to more than a third of the 75 A380s in service.
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