After having discovering “cracking” in one section of the craft, the Australian airline Qantas has decided to ground one of its Boeing 737 NG planes.
Following a revelation by Boeing that an area near the wing may be prone to cracking, a number of airlines were also inspecting their 737 NG fleets. The airlines said while announcing the decision. .
The same issue as with Qantas has resulted in up to 50 planes being grounded globally according to a report published by the news agency AFP.
“Even when a crack is present, it does not immediately compromise the safety of the aircraft. We would never operate an aircraft unless it was completely safe to do so,” Qantas said.
The “pickle fork” – a section of the plane which helps attach the wing, is where the cracks had been found, Boeing said.
Checks for all 737 NG planes which had undertaken more than 30,000 flights had been ordered by the regulators in the United States last month.
Qantas said none of its 737 NG fleet had been flown more than 30,000 times and added that the plane in which the crack has been ground had flown lesser than 27,000 journeys.
This is the second Boeing plane model this year that has been grounded after the worldwide grounding of its 737 Max planes in March this year following two fatal crashes involving the plane models. This has also reportedly increased pressure on Boeing. 346 people were killed in the two crashes – one accident took place in Indonesia last October which the second accident happened in Ethiopia in March.
Boeing had made mistakes in relation to the 737 Max fleet, conceded Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg on Wednesday while deposing before US lawmakers on the 737 Max crashes.
The 737 NG model of Boeing is a precursor to the 737 Max model.
A total of 33 planes in its fleet for the same issue would be inspected by it by Friday, Qantas said. Reports that the airline had found a crack in a second plane was not responded to by the airline.
A call to Qantas for grounding the entire 737 NG fleet was given by the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, an aviation union. That call has been summarily rejected by the airline calling it “alarmist”.
US carrier Southwest Airlines recently discovered a crack in one of its 737 NG planes.
(Adapted from BBC.com)