European aircraft maker Airbus SAS said Tuesday it plans to ask airlines around the world to inspect hundreds of jets after part of the rudder fell off an Airbus A310 passenger jet in flight.
"We're foreseeing such a request but it hasn't been issued yet," said Barbara Kracht, an Airbus spokeswoman.
A plane belonging to Canada's Air Transat lost most of its rudder — the vertical moving part at the back of the tail fin — soon after leaving Cuba for Quebec on March 6. The pilot maintained control of the plane and flew it back to Cuba. None of the 270 passengers and crew was injured.
Airbus says it is working on the precise recommendations it plans to send to airlines within the next two days on how to carry out detailed rudder inspections.
"We always want to be on the safe side and take as many precautionary measures as possible, but in a proper frame," Kracht said. "It's pointless to ask for inspections of things which are not relevant."
Airbus says the inspections are likely to apply to some 400 jets — all A310s in service and those A300s which have the more recent, composite rudders.