China's first A380 grounded by mechanical fault

Updated: 2011-10-31 10:02


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China's first A380 grounded by mechanical fault
The A380 jumbo arrives at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, Oct 17, 2011. The A380 plane of China Southern Airlines completed its first Beijing-Guangzhou flight Monday.[Photo/Xinhua]

GUANGZHOU-- China Southern Airlines was forced to suspend the operation of its first Airbus A380 superjumbo Saturday due to a mechanical fault, the company announced, only 12 days after the jet was first put into use in China.

The jumbo jet was scheduled to fly from Beijing to Shanghai Saturday, but its flight had to be called off due to the fault, China Southern said in a statement.

"We need to transport air materials from abroad (to fix the problem)," it said, without specifying the nature of the mechanical failure.

The company used an A330 jet for the flight instead.

"We are deeply sorry for the inconveniences brought to passengers," the statement read. "The safety of passengers is always our top priority. We will fix the problem and resume the normal operation of A380 as soon as possible."

China Southern took delivery of the A380 jumbo jet on October 15. It was used on the Beijing-Guangzhou route from October 17 to 26, and was scheduled to fly on the Beijing-Shanghai route from October 27 to 29. It was intended that the plane would then be used on an international route after October.

This was the first of five A380 jets to be delivered by Airbus to China Southern. The second will arrive in December, and the other three will be delivered next year.

China Southern's A380 has a 506-seat cabin featuring eight luxury first-class suites, 70 flat-bed business-class seats and 428 economy-class seats.

China Southern Airlines is the first operator of the A380 in China and the seventh globally.