Saturday, 2 November 2019

Cracks on Qantas 737 NG's

Following urgent inspections on its fleet of 33 Boeing 737NG aircraft, the Australian airline Qantas has found three with cracks between the wing and the fuselage.

The cracks relate to the ‘pickle fork’ structure, located between the wing and fuselage and are starting to appear on aircraft that had all completed around 27,000 cycles. Any aircraft with more than 22,600 cycles was inspected, in line with advice from regulators.

Qantas says these three 737NG's have been removed from service for repair and it will try to minimise customer impact whilst the aircraft are grounded.  The airline is working with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Boeing to resolve these issues, which involves some complex repair work. It is hoped the three aircraft will be back in service before the start of 2020.

CEO of Qantas Domestic, Andrew David was incredibly bullish in a statement blaming an engineering union for exposing the truth, which prompted the carrier to do the checks urgently, rather in than over 7 months. "Unfortunately, there were some irresponsible comments from one engineering union yesterday, which completely misrepresented the facts.". David also said Qantas "Would never fly an aircraft that wasn’t safe. Even where these hairline cracks are present they’re not an immediate risk"

Qantas also confirmed it won't be doing any extra checking or inspections on its Boeing 737NG fleet which "in scope of the airworthiness directive as inspections fall due".

The US Federal Aviation Administration had said last month that urgent checks within the next seven months on 737NG aircraft that have carried out more than 30,000 flights, while aircraft with more than 22,600 flights needed less-immediate inspections. 

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