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Qantas Removes Four Boeing Planes From Fleet for Repairs Due to Structural Cracks



Australian airline Qantas announced Friday it had grounded four Boeing 737NG planes due to structural cracks.

According to the Agence France-Presse, Qantas officials revealed Thursday they had found an issue on a 737NG that involved the pickle fork, which is a part that helps connect the wing to the fuselage, resulting in the airline examining all 33 planes in its 737NG fleet.

Earlier this month, aviation authorities in the United States ordered airlines to airlines/faa-calls-for-airlines-to-inspect-boeing-planes-after-crack-discovered.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>examine the pickle forks on 737NG planes that had flown more than 30,000 times. The first Qantas aircraft with the reported crack had recorded fewer than 27,000 flights, though.

“This aircraft has been removed from service for repair,” a Qantas spokesperson told AFP.

The Australian airline said inspections of the entire 737NG fleet were completed Friday, with three additional planes found to have hairline cracks in the pickle fork structures. These aircraft have been removed from service for repair.

Before the inspections were completed, some officials demanded the planes be grounded until each aircraft could thoroughly be examined. “These aircraft should be kept safe on the ground until urgent inspections are completed,” engineers’ union representative Steve Purvinas told AFP.

Qantas responded to the calls to ground the whole fleet by saying the decision would be “completely irresponsible.” Qantas head of engineering Chris Snook said, “even when a crack is present, it does not immediately compromise the safety of the aircraft.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was initially notified of the problem by Boeing after several of the planes in a Chinese airline’s fleet were discovered to have cracks. The 737NG is a precursor to the now grounded MAX fleet, which has raised concerns.

Boeing 737 MAX planes were involved in two deadly crashes that left 346 people dead.

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