European aviation regulators on Wednesday ordered detailed inspections and possible replacement of defective parts on more than 170 single-aisle Airbus jets used around the world. Regulators are concerned about large batches of suspect nuts installed on these single-aisle jets.
The inspection will focus on the European manufacturer's A319, A320 and A321 twin-engine models.
According to the European Aviation Safety Agency, "a large number" of suspect nuts were installed in the fuselage and fuel-tank areas of the jets during assembly. "If not corrected," the agency said in its proposed directive, use of the parts "could have long-term consequences" and "could impair the structural integrity" of the affected jets.
However, the regulators also clarified that tests for metal fatigue, corrosion and other problems have shown the suspect parts don't pose any immediate danger.
An Airbus spokesman said the company and regulators previously "determined there was no cause for immediate action" because potential issues wouldn't show up for a long time, if ever.
Airbus is a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co.