Aviation

Qantas inspects 737 NGs following FAA directive, as engineers’ association calls on fleet to be grounded

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Qantas has labelled calls for its entire fleet of Boeing 737-800s to be grounded by its engineers’ union as “completely irresponsible”.

The kangaroo carrier is currently undertaking an immediate inspection of 33 of its Boeing 737 Next Generation airplanes that have operated on more than 22,600 flights, after discovering a structural crack on the “pickle forks” of one of its aircraft during a scheduled maintenance check.

But the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) on Thursday called on Qantas to immediately ground all 75 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, after an alleged second aircraft was found with a structural crack.

“These aircraft should be kept safe on the ground until urgent inspections are completed and advice in relation to the ongoing nature of the wing cracks is confirmed by Boeing and the US Federal Airworthiness Authority,” ALAEA said in a statement.

Boeing, the manufacturer of the aircraft, has notified all of its customers of the issue, as it investigates the root cause of structural cracks on the pickle forks of certain 737 NG model jets, which attach the wing of the jet to the body.

The issue reportedly does not immediately compromise the safety of aircraft.

“Boeing is actively working with customers that have airplanes in their fleets with inspection findings to develop a repair plan, and to provide parts and technical support as necessary,” a spokesperson for the aircraft manufacturer told Travel Weekly.

Qantas has called the allegations and comments made by the association “completely irresponsible”.

“We would never operate an aircraft unless it was completely safe to do so. Even when a crack is present, it does not immediately compromise the safety of the aircraft,” Qantas’ head of engineering, Chris Snook, said in a statement.

“Safety regulators in Australia and the United States require the checks on our 737s to be completed over the next seven months. Our checks are well advanced and will be finished by tomorrow – months ahead of schedule.

“These inspections are being conducted by airlines globally. As other airlines have done when they have found cracks, Qantas will remove aircraft from service so they can be repaired.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a mandate for all 737 NG models – which includes the 737-800 – to be inspected prior to the accumulation of 30,000 total flight cycles.

Qantas would not confirm whether a structural crack in a second aircraft had been discovered when asked by Travel Weekly, but said it will provide a further update once the checks are complete.

“Qantas has been liaising with Boeing and CASA on an issue affecting some of the global fleet of 737s,” the airline said.

“The advice requires immediate inspection of aircraft that have completed more than 30,000 takeoffs and landings (or, cycles). Aircraft with more than 22,600 cycles require inspection within the next 1000 cycles which, in Qantas’ case, is about seven months of flying.

“None of Qantas’ 737s have reached the 30,000 cycle mark. However, we will have inspected 33 aircraft with more than 22,600 cycles by the end of this week rather than the seven months required.”

A spokesperson from Boeing told Travel Weekly the issue does not affect any 737 MAX airplanes or the P-8.

“Boeing regrets the impact this issue is having on our 737NG customers worldwide and we are working around the clock to provide the support needed to return all airplanes to service as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said.


SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

News

SA and NSW hospitality sector call for easing of COVID restrictions

The hospo sector is looking to party at full capacity and who can blame them, it’s been nearly two years since the staff at Travel Weekly were crowded in a sweaty nightclub at 2am mentally preparing for the next day’s debilitating hangover.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Swan Hellenic cruise ship helps rescue researchers in Antarctica

The British cruise company has ventured into the rescue game with this heroic act and rumour has it they’re now considering hiring the team that saved the Thai boys soccer team in 2018.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“The measures have not worked”: IATA urges governments to remove all travel barriers

The association has called for an end to the nearly two-year reign of restrictions that have all but crushed the travel industry, including eliminating quarantine restrictions for non-vaccinated travellers.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

World’s first Winery Airline to launch with free seats for struggling tourism workers

Fancy flying with an airline where getting sloshed is encouraged, rather than frowned upon? These Kiwi masterminds have got just the ticket.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

AGENT GUIDE: How to carryout a sustainability audit on your travel products

by Emily Fletcher

Want to reassure your clients that their trip won’t cost the planet? Here’s how you can put their minds at ease.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Aussies encouraged to ‘Feel new, renew yourself’ in new collab between RedBalloon and DNSW

If all goes to plan, this new campaign will get Aussies keen to pump some much-needed funds into the domestic tourism market.

Share

CommentComments

News

Loophole discovered in WA quarantine requirements for international arrivals

Travellers looking to avoid hotel quarantine in Western Australia can now sneak in round the back. But why would you? Who doesn’t love the little shampoos and soaps they give you?

Share

CommentComments

News

Britain scraps all COVID travel tests for UK entry

Travellers to the UK will no longer be greeted with a PCR test shoved up their nose, just the usual array of commotion and disarray that we all miss about travelling.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

BREAKING: Intrepid grows US tours by 400 per cent with new acquisition

The tour operator has been busy using its downtime to accelerate investment in this massively popular sector.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Travel Agents

Travel agents’ national day of action highlights cruise industry struggle

Travel agents took to the streets earlier this week, just like they did in the ’60s but with far less groovy outfits, little to no Jimi Hendrix music, and not a ‘jazz cigarette’ in sight.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Intrepid employees given choice to work on public holiday, Natalie Kidd explains why

As many Australian’s took to the streets yesterday, in both protest and celebration, a few companies chose a different approach: business as usual. Here’s why.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Spritz of Australia: Qantas gets its own signature cocktail

The national carrier now has a delicious spritz available on its overseas flights, just in case you’re looking for a new way to get hammered at 36,000 feet.

Share

CommentComments