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Controversy in Italy over plane patched with adhesive tape

ITA Airways defends use of tape in repairs to plane.

A video of a Rome-bound passenger plane patched with adhesive tape went viral in Italy on Thursday, sparking a safety debate on social media.

The footage was shared on Facebook by Mauro Pili, former president of the Sardinia region, after he took the ITA Airways flight from Cagliari to Rome.

"They treat us like a third world colony" - Pili wrote - "I've never come across a plane patched with scotch tape yet."

The video shows silver adhesive tape covering an area on the lower part of the plane.

"This morning, at 7.20, leaving for Rome from Cagliari, nobody noticed anything due to boarding via the tunnel", Pili wrote, claiming that it was only on arrival in Fiumicino that passengers realised they had travelled on a plane that was "scandalously patched up."

The video prompted hundreds of comments from users, some horrified, others who said the practice was widely used for temporary repairs and is "super, super strong" and safe.

"So safe it's coming off", Pili replied, pointing out that the video shows the adhesive tape is visibly detached.

Another commentator stressed that they expect "maximum safety" when paying for a flight, stating: "I am sure that 99 per cent of departing passengers, if they had seen the "patch" would not have boarded that plane."

Responding to the controversy, ITA Airways stated that it "always operates in compliance with the safety standards dictated by the competent authorities and with total respect for its passengers and on-board staff."

The airline said that the repairs were necessary to "temporarily deal" with damage found on a panel.

"This action was carried out in compliance with the manuals approved by the manufacturer which in these cases provides for the use of specific metallic 'high speed tape' specifically for aeronautical use."

"In the specific case of flight AZ1588, operating on the Cagliari-Rome Fiumicino route" - the company clarified - "the aircraft was fully functional and took off from Cagliari at 7.21, landing in Fiumicino at 8.14, nine minutes ahead of schedule, without presenting technical problems".

Photo Mauro Pili. Video Corriere della Sera/Mauro Pili.

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