US Boeing says cracks found on 38 of 810 737 NG jets inspected globally
737 Max lawsuit suggests parallels to 1990s crashes
A lawsuit filed by the former inspector general of the Department of Transportation accuses Boeing in a new lawsuit of repeatedly concealing design flaws in its aircraft and blaming pilots in the aftermath of crashes. © JASON REDMOND/AFP/AFP/Getty Images A worker is pictured next to a Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane on the tarmac at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton, Washington on March 12, 2019. - US President Donald Trump on March 13, 2019, announced a plan to ground all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft amid intense international and political pressure following the second deadly crash in less than five months.
By David ShepardsonWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Boeing Co said on Thursday that airlines had inspected 810 of the company's 737 NG jets around the world and found 38 structural cracks requiring repair and replacement of the affected parts.
The planes will be grounded until the repairs are made, Boeing and airline officials said. Nearly 5% of inspections have found cracks in a "pickle fork" -- a part that attaches the plane's fuselage, or body, to the wing structure and manages forces.
Boeing 737 inspections ordered by FAA to look for wing support cracks
Inspections were ordered to look for cracks in wing supports of heavily used 737 NGs. Boeing is still reeling from the grounding of the 737 Max.The order, issued Wednesday, requires initial and periodic inspections for cracking and repairs if any cracking is found.
The 737 NG is the third-generation 737 and version before the now grounded 737 MAX, which is not impacted by the cracking issue.On Wednesday, Southwest Airlines Co and Brazil's Gol Linhas Aereas grounded at least 13 737 NG airplanes after U.S. regulators ordered urgent inspections. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week told U.S aircraft operators to inspect 165 older 737 NGs for structural cracks. American Airlines and United Airlines said earlier this week they have not seen any cracks on their airplanes.
Raymond James analyst Savanthi Syth wrote in a research note Thursday that the findings from the 737 NG inspections could "potentially take up to 4% of capacity off-line between mid-Oct and mid-Dec."
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The flight bound for Newark, New Jersey departed more than three hours lateAnother passenger who was getting ready to board took video of the man being taken into custody in the terminal after he was removed from the plane and posted it on his Twitter account.
Planes with cracks "may need to be taken out of the fleet for up to 60 days for maintenance," Syth said.
The FAA last week said inspections would look for "cracking of the left and right hand side outboard chords of frame fittings and failsafe straps."
It added that the cracking "could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane and result in loss of control of the airplane."
Aircraft with more than 30,000 cycles must be inspected within seven days, while planes between 22,600 and 29,999 cycles must be inspected within 1,000 cycles, which typically correspond to the number of flights. In total, 1,911 U.S. 737 NGs are covered by the FAA directive.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Tom Brown)
Boeing messages hint staff may have misled FAA about 737 Max .
There have already been signs that the 737 Max's fatal safety flaw may have stemmed from misunderstandings, and now investigators appear to have more tangible evidence of this. Boeing has confirmed to Reuters that it gave the FAA instant messages indicating that pilots may have misled regulators about the performance of the MCAS anti-stall technology linked to two deadly crashes. The company's then-serving chief technical pilot told another pilot that he had "basically lied" to the FAA about MCAS during the 737 Max's certification process, albeit "unknowingly.