Imagine flying on a plane with the wings stuck together using duct tape.
A photo of a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner went viral on social media. People were concerned about its safety after a photo of its wing covered with duct tape was shared on Twitter by an Australian opera singer, David Wakeham, with the caption, “When choosing your favorite @Qantas airline, choose wisely. Profits before safety.” However, according to aviation experts, there is no cause for alarm.
Contrary to what people imagined, CheckMate, a fact-checking website, verified that the image was not what it seemed to be. They reported that the tape in question is not used for repairs, but instead, it’s a commonly used tool in the airline industry, known as speed tape.
According to experts, speed tape is well-known in the aviation industry; it is used to cover peeling paint.
In 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated that 787 Dash Nine aircraft were prone to adhesive failure due to high UV light. Recently, a spokesperson from Air New Zealand revealed that paint peeling from the 787-9 aircraft is a global issue.
The plane manufacturer also confirmed that the paint’s peeling doesn’t compromise the wings’ structural integrity. It does not cause any safety hazard to passengers.
The viral Twitter post targeted Qantas Airlines, but Checkmate, as well as Qantas, said that the plane in the photo is not a Qantas Airlines plane.
An example of how you can’t believe everything you see or read on the internet.
Airbus manufacturers have been having the same problem with their A350 aircraft, a factor that has resulted in legal action being taken against them by Qatar Airways. However, the case was thrown out after the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) ruled that the peeling did not affect the aircraft’s structural integrity or flight safety and rejected Qatar Airways’ concerns.
Besides the viral post this year, which may have unfairly targeted Qantas, the airline has been hit hard by crew strikes due to their numerous flight cancellations and delays. As a result, they have been ranked as the worst airline in Australia. According to a report compiled by the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transportation Economics during the month of June, Qantas Airlines had canceled 8.1% of their regularly scheduled flights. The airline has reported that more than half of its flights have been delayed.
Anyway… the tweet went viral, even though it wasn’t true. And now everyone knows who David Wakeham is. (Don’t remember? Paragraph two.)