Qantas under pressure to ground all 737s after cracks found on wing
Published on Thursday, October 31, 2019
Qantas is under pressure to ground its fleet of 75 Boeing 737-800 aircraft after one was found with a cracked primary wing structure.
The Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers says all of the airline’s 737 aircraft should be kept on the ground until urgent inspections have been carried out.
ALAEA federal secretary Steve Purvinas said: “Boeing had previously thought the cracks were only occurring on aircraft with over 35,000 landings, but the issues has now been identified on two Qantas aircraft with as few as 27,000 landings and Qantas are yet to inspect the majority of its 737 fleet.”
But Qantas played down the fears, saying the discovery ‘does not immediately compromise the safety of the aircraft’.
It has, however, scheduled inspections of 33 of its Boeing 737 aircraft, all of which have completed more than 22,6000 cycles, out of ‘an abundance of caution’.
The aircraft with the crack in its wing has been removed from service for further inspection.
Cracks have been discovered on several 737 NG model aircraft around the world since the US Federal Aviation Administration ordered checks a month ago.
The cracks relate to the plane’s ‘pickle fork’, which is an attachment linking the wings to the fuselage.
The FAA directive called for checks on 737 NGs that had flown more than 30,000 trips.
“Qantas would never operate an aircraft unless it was completely safe to do so,” the airline said.
ALAEA said it understands Virgin has already inspected its 737 aircraft ahead of schedule.
“Qantas fly a fleet of much older aircraft and must take the wing crack seriously having now found cracks on two of their planes,” it added.