Airlines Respond To Viral Photo Of Airplane Wing Covered In Patches Of “Duct Tape”

Australian Senator Tony Sheldon recently tweeted about how the Qantas Airlines board has voted to give itself a 5% pay raise while proposing a 1.2% pay raise for its workforce.

In response to Senator Sheldon’s tweet, David Wakeham, an Australian opera singer, shared an image of an airplane that does not have any clear identifying marks that would indicate it’s a Qantas plane, with what appears to be patches of duct tape covering the wing. Wakeham wrote: “When choosing your favourite airline, choose wisely. @Qantas Profits before safety.” 

Wakeham also shared the image on Reddit, where it went viral.

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According to CheckMate, the “duct tape” found on the wings is actually “speed tape” commonly used to cover peeling paint.

New York Post reports – The Boeing 787-9 planes have been identified as being “prone to paint adhesion failures due to Ultra Violet (UV) ray damage,” according to a 2020 report from the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.

More recently, an Air New Zealand spokesperson told Stuff paint peeling on the wings of Boeing 787-9 aircraft was a global problem.

The seemingly widespread issue has been played down by Boeing, which has made attempts to alleviate concerns of travelers about the tape suggesting issues with structural integrity.

“The peeling does not affect the structural integrity of the wing, and does not affect the safety of flight,” a Boeing spokesperson told aviation publication Simple.

The only potential risk posed by peeling paint was to airline staff when using “vacuum-type fall arrest protection systems,” the FAA document said.

Plane manufacturer Airbus has also been struck by paint peeling issues with its A350 aircraft and has faced legal action from Qatar Airways.

The complaint was shut down by European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), though, which responded by saying the paint issue didn’t affect the structure of the aircraft or introduce other risks.