Lion Air recently found structural cracks in two Boeing 737 NG aircraft with fewer flights than a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) threshold for tests, Indonesia’s aviation safety regulator said Friday.
The discovery might make it more likely the FAA would require airline operators to examine 737 NGs with fewer than 22,600 cycles, which had not been made compulsory previously. Each cycle sometimes represents one flight, with a takeoff and a landing.
The cracks are on what is called the “pickle fork,” a part that attaches the airplane’s fuselage, or body, to wings.
An FAA spokesperson stated the company had asked operators to report any cracks so it could check whether or not it needed to change its test formats.
The Lion Air planes with cracks had fewer than 22,000 cycles and are now downed for repairs, a spokesperson for the airline stated.
One of the airline’s best 737 MAX jets in 2018 crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board and resulting in heightened inspection on the carrier’s maintenance plans by Indonesia’s safety regulator.
Director General of Civil Aviation Indonasia, Polana Pramesti stated Friday there had been no plans for the nation’s aviation regulator to expand the inspections past the FAA order.
The FAA requires immediate checks of planes with over 33,000 cycles and checks within the next 1,000 cycles for these with more than 22,600 cycles.
Boeing didn’t reply to an immediate request for remark. The producer last week mentioned that more than 1,000 planes worldwide had met the edge for inspections up to now, and of those, fewer than 5% had issues.