Monday, 22 October, 2018

Southwest Airlines cancels, delays scores of flights during emergency engine inspections

Maker of Failed Southwest Airlines Engine Calls for Closer Inspections Southwest Airlines Response To Emergency Airworthiness Directive
| 23 April, 2018, 22:04

Aviation authorities in the United States (US) and Europe have ordered an inspection on nearly 700 Boeing 737 engines after a fan blade failure killed a woman en route from NY to Dallas.

The action follows an order from the FAA requiring airlines that have flown the engine in question for at least 30,000 cycles, or takeoffs and landings, must accelerate the normal inspection cycle; the FAA estimated that the action will affect more than 300 planes in the USA that are using the older engines. Southwest says the cancellation make up about 1 percent of their flying each day and "is similar, or less than, what we would cancel on any given operating day due to things like local weather".

Tuesday evening, Southwest Airlines announced that its entire fleet of more than 700 CFM56-powered 737s will be inspected for cracks using ultrasonic devices within the next 30 days.

Southwest, the nation's fourth-largest carrier by traffic, said around 40 flights were scratched while the airline checks engines on some of its Boeing Co.

"Things happen and I feel like they're probably taking whatever actions necessary to keep us safe", said Steve Leonard, a passenger on a Southwest flight to Baltimore. A cycle includes an engine start, takeoff, landing and shutdown.

The company said there are about 14,000 CFM56-7B engines now in service with airlines worldwide.


The woman who died was sitting over the wing on the Boeing 737 when the engine failed and she was partially sucked out a broken window.

Officials reported that the plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia following the accident.

Several airlines have been ordered to carry out the engine inspections on hundreds of planes following the tragic death.

.

"The accelerated inspections are being performed out of an abundance of caution and are expected to be completed over the next 30 days", Southwest said. Manufacturer CFM International said in a statement last week it's assisting in the probe into the incident.

Initial investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board found evidence of fatigue cracking at the hub of the fan in an area that could not be detected by an external visual inspection.

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