THE title is misleading since the oldest A300's are still young compared with the aircraft's design objective with something like a ten year margin available. However, illustrating the Airbus Industrie forward looking policies, the company began to initiate development of a Supplemental Structural Inspection Programme (SSIP) in 1986 with meetings of working groups which included contributions from air‐worthiness authorities and Airbus aircraft operators. It was decided to include in the SSIP content an inspection of all aircraft through normal inspection service bulletins and inspection of the lead fleet (about 100 oldest aircraft) for less sensitive items. This is against a background where, for example, 34 of the 237 A300B4's in service have exceeded 50% of their design life and none have reached 75%.
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