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    Feb 06, 2014

    Body scratches ground SIA's A380 superjumbo

    SINGAPORE Airlines said yesterday that it had grounded an Airbus A380 superjumbo for further inspection after scratches were found on its fuselage.

    The scratches were discovered after the double-decker plane, the world's biggest passenger aircraft, arrived in Frankfurt from New York on Sunday, SIA said in a statement.

    There were 126 passengers and 26 crew members on board.

    "The aircraft was grounded subsequently for checks, and passengers were either transferred to other airlines or accommodated in hotels," the statement said.

    "Following inspections by engineering teams in Frankfurt, it was determined that the scratches posed no safety issue and the aircraft was cleared for departure."

    The plane arrived in Singapore on Tuesday after a 23-hour delay, and has been grounded for further checks.

    SIA said the cause of the scratches has yet to be established.

    "Our engineers are performing further checks on the aircraft, and it will resume service once cleared," the airline said.

    A source close to Airbus said that the scratches were probably caused by a "defrosting system" at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

    Experts said the defrosting equipment is used to remove and prevent the build-up of ice on the plane's outer surface, especially on the wings and fuselage, by spraying chemicals using high-pressure water jets.

    The United States has been hit by extra-cold weather in recent weeks, with a massive storm on Tuesday bringing with it a dangerous mix of freezing rain and sleet.

    This incident is the second involving an A380 for SIA in less than a month.

    On Jan 6, an SIA A380 en route from London to Singapore lost cabin pressure, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku.

    The 467 passengers and 27 crew members on board were flown to Singapore in a replacement aircraft.

    The plane in the Baku incident is back in service, SIA said yesterday.