First Published: 2009-06-10

Qatar Airways upgrading Airbus speed sensors

Airline continues large maintenance programme to upgrade its Thales pitot probe sensors aboard its Airbus fleet.


Middle East Online

For a safer flight

DOHA - Qatar Airways said on Tuesday it is upgrading the speed sensors on its Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft although the manufacturer has not given any such instructions.

An Air France Airbus plane carrying 228 people crashed into the Atlantic earlier this month and investigators said false speed measurements might have played a role, as the aircraft's speed monitors appeared to have malfunctioned.

"Qatar Airways is continuing a large maintenance programme to upgrade its Thales pitot probe sensors aboard its Airbus fleet," the Doha-based airline said.

"While there is no directive from Airbus to replace Thales pitot probes, Qatar Airways has been proactive in the implementation of the upgrade."

L-shaped metal pitot tubes are attached to the wing or fuselage of a plane. The speed and angle of flight can be determined by measuring the pressure of air entering them.

The carrier also said it has completed upgrading speed sensors on its Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft, and that 21 planes have already been fitted with the Airbus-approved modification in a programme that began in 2008.

In the wake of the Air France crash, Airbus said on Friday it had sent a notice to pilots worldwide reminding them what to do when speed indicators give conflicting read-outs.

French air safety investigators said automatic messages broadcast by the doomed Air France jet had shown the plane's systems were giving different readings just before it plunged into the ocean.

Air France itself announced earlier on Tuesday that it was replacing pitot tubes on its planes, amid speculation the ones on the doomed airliner had iced up and were providing false data.


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