Qantas Grounds Three 737-800s Due to Hairline Cracks
Qantas has removed three Boeing 737-800s from service after the Australian airline found structural cracks during inspections.
The US Federal Aviation Administration requires operators of older 737NG aircraft to inspect the ‘pickle fork’, a structural part that connects the wings to the fuselage.
Aircraft with over 22,600 flight cycles were required to be inspected over the next few months, but Qantas brought forward the process on the 33 737s that were in that age bracket.
Of the aircraft inspected, the airline found three with hairline cracks in the pickle forks and removed the planes from service.
“We would never fly an aircraft that wasn’t safe. Even where these hairline cracks are present they’re not an immediate risk,” the CEO of Qantas’ domestic division, Andrew David said.
The three aircraft are expected to return to service before the end of the year.
The FAA directive requires airlines to inspect aircraft with more than 30,000 flight cycles within seven days, and those between 22,600 and 29,999 cycles to be inspected within the next 1,000 cycles. Aviation regulators generally follow FAA directives for US built aircraft.