New York/Paris - Airbus's huge A380 is showing cracks in its wings while Boeing's Dreamliner has problems with its rear fuselage.
The companies may dismiss these as teething difficulties, but they also represent the latest in a long series of setbacks and delays to the two showcase aircraft.
Recent innovations in the aviation world have almost always been plagued by problems resulting in huge costs to their companies alongside long delays, with manufacturers repeatedly compelled to issue statements to counter safety fears and resort to public relations damage control.
The European Aviation Safety Agency's (EASA) decision to order an investigation into hairline cracks in no way suggested that the A380s were in danger of crashing, Airbus felt compelled to say, hours after EASA ordered Wednesday that the wings of all the planes be inspected over the next six weeks.
The fine cracks appearing on many wing brackets once again raised fears among passengers that modern aircraft might not be safe.
Pilots, however, remain unconcerned.
'The parts are not completely unsuitable, they simply don't last as long as expected,' a Lufthansa pilot said. 'It's basically positive to know that the inspections are so thorough, that the fault was noticed and that the aircraft are now all being checked.'
The airlines will, however, suffer losses, even if Airbus is paying the repair costs. The planes will be grounded for three days, implying a huge loss in revenue.
Seven airlines have paid large sums to acquire the A380s, seen as a draw card with the public for their comfort, space and silence, laying out 390 million dollars for each of the 68 aircraft now flying, according to the official price list.
Lufthansa, for example, is busy planning to fly passengers to long-haul destinations like Johannesburg and Tokyo with their showcase aircraft.
'We will arrange things so that all eight aircraft are inspected and that no A380 flights are cancelled,' Michael Lamberty, a spokesman for the German airline, said.
Lufthansa, Europe's largest carrier, has itself not found any of the cracks in question, but that is in fact no surprise, as the damage cannot be discerned from the outside.
Airbus technical staff have to go inside the wings to swap the damaged parts for new ones. Each A380 inspected thus far has needed several brackets replaced.
Airbus rival Boeing has also grown accustomed to problems. The company's heralded 787 Dreamliner turned into a nightmare for its makers through a mixture of mistakes and sheer bad luck. The launch was delayed for more than three years, leaving a trail of severely disappointed customers and generating huge costs for the company.
The Dreamliner's innovative use of carbon fibre presented its own problems. This light and yet strong synthetic material was used to replace the aluminium commonly used in aircraft construction with the aim of reducing weight and extending the plane's operating life.
Boeing has only recently found further problems in manufacture. The support structure of the fuselage had not been assembled correctly, the company said. Boeing's marketing head, Randy Tinseth, said there was no cause for concern on safety grounds and that the repairs would take a matter of days, rather than months.
Aircraft manufacturers are now taking a more conservative approach to their main money spinners, the medium-haul Airbus A320 and Boeing's 737 range. Both have steered clear of a complete redesign in favour of modernizing the old models and in particular fitting new and more economical engines.
But even this type of solution has its hazards, as the latest makeover of Boeing's legendary 747 has shown. The aircraft, the design of which dates back to the late 1960s, has been revamped several times, but the latest to enlarge the aircraft has resulted in considerable unplanned delays.