Inspections carried out on some old Boeing aircraft have found structural fissures in more than thirty of them, which raises a new security concern for the company that already deals with two fatal accidents involving the newest version of the same model.
Boeing reported Thursday that several airlines internationally have inspected 810 planes after an order from U.S. security regulators. Of those aircraft, 38, or 5%, had “findings” that required repairs.
The airlines are ordered to inspect some Boeing 737 NG planes for cracks in a part that helps keep the wings attached to the fuselage called “pickle fork”RELATED
Boeing declined to name the airlines that encountered problems, but Brazil’s Gol said it has suspended 11 planes so far, and Southwest Airlines, based in the United States, has stopped using two.
The NG model is a version of the popular 737 that has been produced since the 1990s. Boeing replaced it with the 737 Max, but those planes have been discontinued worldwide since March after two accidents that caused the death of 346 people
The cracks in NG planes were presented in an attachment fitting known as “pickle fork”, because of the shape it has. Recently a crack was found in that component in some 737 that were being adapted to be used as cargo planes.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave the airlines seven days, which ended Thursday, to inspect the 737 NGs that had made at least 30,000 flights. A much larger group of planes with slightly less flights should be reviewed in the coming months.
An FAA spokesman said a “small number” of US-based airplanes have been removed from service while Boeing develops instructions to repair or replace the parts.
Boeing analyzes the results of the inspection of the airlines and its technical experts decide the best repair plan, said a spokesman for the company.