Experts explain viral photo of Australian plane with tape on wing

Aviation experts have explained why an Australian airliner in a viral photo appeared to have duct tape holding together its wings, and they’re reassuring passengers they have nothing to worry about.

The speculation began on 22 September, when Australian singer David Wakeham responded to a news story about Australian airline Qantas with a photo of the wing of a plane covered with patches of silver tape.

“When choosing your favourite airline choose wisely,” he wrote, tagging Qantas. “Profits before safety.”

The tape picture is not holding together the wing, as some speculated. Instead, according to fact-checkers from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, it’s “speed tape”.

“The tape pictured — known as speed tape — is used regularly in the aviation industry and, in this case, was likely applied to cover peeling paint,” they wrote.

Boeing, the likely manufacturer in the plane in Mr Wakeham’s photo, has previously alerted US air officials that its 787 jets are "prone to paint adhesion failures due to Ultra Violet (UV) ray damage”.

The company told aviation publication Simple that the peeling paint doesn’t affect safety on Boeing planes.

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

The Independent has contacted Qantas and Boeing for comment.

Outside of the viral tape photo, Qantas has been hit with worker strikes this year, and was ranked the worst airline in the country for delays and cancellations during June, the Australian aviation industry’s worst-ever month on record.

The Qantas Group canceled 8.1 per cent of all scheduled flights in June, with almost half of its being delayed, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics.