FAA orders wing inspections on nearly 2,000 planes

FAA orders wing inspections on nearly 2,000 planes
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has notified airlines operating the company's 737 Next Generation (NG) planes that they must perform inspections on the aircraft for cracks in the planes' wing supports.

USA Today reported that FAA officials issued the order for periodic inspections on Wednesday, adding another blow to the company as Boeing has faced financial troubles since its 737 Max line was grounded earlier this year following two deadly crashes.

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The move does not ground planes but could lead to some planes being grounded if issues are found, USA Today reported.

Wing support cracks reported to the FAA after some 737 NG planes were converted from passenger aircraft to cargo planes could "adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane and result in loss of control of the airplane," the FAA told airlines, according to USA Today.

The problems affecting Boeing's two aircraft lines, the 737 Max and 737 NG, are unrelated but threaten to throw the company into further financial turmoil after months of Boeing's efforts to prepare the 737 Max for recertification.

Southwest Airlines told the newspaper in a statement that it was complying with the inspection order for its roughly 700 737 NG planes.

“We are aware of the reported issue and to date, have not had any unusual findings associated with the pickle fork on our 737 NG aircraft,'' Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King told USA Today. “Once we receive additional guidance, we will fully comply with any directives requiring checks to ensure the continued safety of our aircraft.’’

“We continue to work closely with the FAA and Boeing regarding the new inspection requirements for our 737-800 fleet,'' added a spokesman for American Airlines, which operates about 300 of the aircraft. "None of American’s aircraft in the 737 fleet fall into the seven day [inspection] requirement.”

The FAA released a statement earlier this week confirming that Boeing had alerted the agency to the issue, and announcing that an inspection order would be issued.