news 5 days ago

Southwest Airlines finds cracked parts on two Boeing 737 NG jets

The Dallas Morning News — By Kyle Arnold The Dallas Morning News

Oct. 09-- DALLAS-Southwest found two cracked parts that help attach wings to its 737 aircraft, the company confirmed Wednesday.

The inspections came after Boeing found problems with "pickle forks" on some aircraft that had seen heavy use. Pickle forks help secure wings to the fuselage of a jet.

The FAA issued an airworthiness directive last week and called for an inspection of about 1,800 of Boeing 737 NG ("Next Generation" ) jets that started flying in about 1997.

"During our inspections of the high-cycle NGs, we did not find abnormalities on the vast majority of our inspected fleet but did identify signs of pickle fork cracking on two aircraft," said a statement from Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish. "Southwest has removed the two aircraft from our operation and reported the findings to Boeing and the FAA."

Southwest did not say how long it expected to be without the planes, but is already without about 10% of its fleet due to the continued grounding of the 737 Max.

According to the FAA, planes impacted by the cracked pickle forks have seen more than 35,000 flights.

According to KOMO News in Seattle, about 5% of 737 NG planes inspected have had cracking issues on the pickle forks.

American Airlines doesn't operate any 737 NG aircraft impacted by the pickle forking issue, said spokesman Ross Feinstein.

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