Canberra (AP) - Boeing's problems are no end: In the midst of the crisis around the misfortune flyer 737 Max now provides the previous model 737 NG for greater difficulty.
The Australian airline Qantas, following the discovery of hairline cracks by three aircraft of this type, inspects several identical aircraft. The US aviation authority FAA had already ordered an urgent special audit earlier this month, after which several 737 NGs were taken out of service. But perhaps the problem has a much larger dimension than previously thought.
On Thursday, it was initially only a crack: "This machine was put out of service for repair," said a Qantas spokesman for dpa. On Friday, the company announced that it had already discovered hairline cracks in three Boeing 737 NG machines. In total, 33 passenger aircraft of this type are now to be controlled by the Australian airline alone. Brisant is that these are probably also Jets of the series, for which the FAA had not prescribed any quick inspections. Because the machines have more than 22 600 takeoffs and landings behind them, the FAA initially referred only to those with more than 30 000.
The risk of cracks in important components attaches the wings to the fuselage. In aviation jargon, the parts are called "Pickle Forks" because they are reminiscent of cucumber forks. Under high load, these can obviously wear out faster than expected at the 737 NG. So far, Boeing has only commented on the problem of actively supporting customers in the investigations of the 737 NG. All operators have been given detailed instructions, including participate in necessary repairs.
The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, an association of aircraft engineers, appealed to the airline to drop all 77 aircraft of this type on the ground.
An FAA spokeswoman pointed out on demand that the agency had ordered exams in early October for newer 737 NG with fewer take-offs and landings. However, only older machines with particularly high loads had to be checked for cracks within seven days. That should not change at first. As a result of the urgent special test, cracks were found in around five percent of the jets tested. They have to be repaired and are not allowed to take off for the time being.
Europe's largest budget airline Ryanair, whose fleet consists entirely of 737-800 737-NG aircraft, was relaxed despite news from Australia. "Ryanair continues to check its aircraft in accordance with the Airworthiness Directives and does not expect any impact on our connections or fleet availability," the airline said on request.
The Boeing 737 NG is the predecessor of the 737 Max. The 737 Max models have been banned since mid-March due to two crashes with a total of 346 dead. A crucial cause of the accident is a faulty Boeing control program. Whether and when the machines will be able to withdraw again depends on international supervisory authorities and is currently unclear.