Airbus Asks Airlines to Install Goodrich Sensors

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Airbus Asks Airlines to Install Goodrich Sensors

Unread post by bimjim » Fri Jul 31, 2009 ... RjA4KU5LOM

Airbus Asks Airlines to Install Goodrich Sensors (Update1)
By Andrea Rothman

July 31 (Bloomberg) -- Airbus SAS, the maker of the Air France jet that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in June, advised carriers that fly its A330 and A340 jets to install Goodrich Corp. speed probes instead of units from Thales SA.

The so-called Pitot tubes are one element in the inquiry into the Air France accident after the A330-200 sent automated messages that its airspeed sensors were malfunctioning. Each of the planes has three of the probes.

Airbus’s advisory is a response to the flood of information from airline customers about the sensors since the Air France accident, not a response to the June 1 crash, Stefan Schaffrath, a spokesman for the planemaker, said yesterday in an interview.

Goodrich is committed to “meeting the needs of our customers,” Laurie Tardif, a company spokeswoman, said in an e- mail. “Any requests we receive for our products or services will be responded to accordingly.”

Sensors from Charlotte, North Carolina-based Goodrich are the standard on A330/A340 wide-body jets, and are used on 800 of the 1,000 such planes now in service, Schaffrath said. Toulouse, France-base Airbus installed Thales units only when specifically requested by airlines, he said.

Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co., has been in talks with the European Aviation Safety Agency about the sensors, Schaffrath said. An e-mail message to EASA for comment after regular business hours yesterday wasn’t immediately answered.

Pitot Tubes

“On the basis of the limited available information from the accident, and despite all the Pitot tubes meeting their objectives, we have decided to recommend to A330-A340 operators with Thales Pitot tubes to exchange them, or at least to have two Goodrich probes,” Schaffrath said.

Schaffrath said Goodrich has enough of the sensors to exchange for Thales units on A330/A340 jets, and the switch takes about two hours. A message left on the mobile telephone of a spokesman for Neuilly Sur Seine, France-based Thales, Europe’s largest defense contractor, wasn’t immediately returned.

Thales rose 26 cents, or 0.9 percent, to 29.17 euros as of 10:06 a.m. in Paris trading, giving the company, based in Neuilly sur Seine, France, a market value of 5.8 billion euros ($8.2 billion). Goodrich added $1.18, or 2.3 percent, to $51.92 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

US Airways Group Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc.’s Northwest unit, the only U.S. operators of A330s, said they had already completed upgrades of the Pitot tubes on their planes with different Thales units following an earlier Airbus advisory.

“We’re reviewing the recommendation” that Airbus issued yesterday, said Betsy Talton, a spokeswoman for Atlanta-based Delta.

‘Talking to Airbus’

US Airways completed the initial upgrades in June, and the latest new A330 to be delivered also had Thales probes, said Jim Olson, a spokesman for the Tempe, Arizona-based carrier.

“We are talking to Airbus about the service bulletin and the availability of parts to support the modification,” Olson said.

The cause of the Flight 447 accident still hasn’t been determined, and searchers haven’t found the so-called black boxes that could help pinpoint any link between flawed speed measurements and the crash. The plane was carrying 228 people to Paris from Rio de Janeiro.

Investigators looking for the flight recorders have narrowed their search to an area of the ocean floor, the French accidents bureau said yesterday.

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