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Some 737s to be inspected for cracks in key parts

Oct 31,2019
Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG) aircraft that have logged over 22,600 flights will be inspected for cracks.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said Wednesday that it will check 22 of the aircraft that have flown over the threshold. It will start the inspections next month.

According to the Transport Ministry, local Boeing 737 NGs fly an average of 200 flights per month, meaning that the threshold applies to planes in service for over nine years.

After Boeing reported the model’s problems earlier this month, the government inspected 42 aircraft and found nine with structural cracks. The problematic aircraft have since been grounded.

Boeing technicians are expected to come to Korea next month to repair the nine aircraft, and the government will make a final check before authorizing them for operation. Five of the planes are owned by Korean Air.

The ministry added that it will inspect 86 airplanes owned by local carriers before they reach the 22,600 flight threshold.

The Boeing 737NG is the predecessor to the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been grounded after two fatal incidents.

The government will also conduct safety inspections on all local carriers from next month, following multiple flight safety incidents over the past few weeks.

Last Friday, a Jeju Air flight from Busan to Gimpo had to make an emergency return after takeoff due to a possible malfunction of its autopilot system, while a Korean Air flight had a problematic fuel valve, leading to delay.

The engine of an Asiana Airlines plane caught on fire during a test run earlier this month.

During an emergency safety meeting with local airline companies on Wednesday, the Transport Ministry said it would strengthen airplane safety measures.

The government will check pilot emergency response training and aircraft maintenance in November and inspect the safety management systems and aircraft crew management the following month.

“We will swiftly pursue the safety improvement measures so that the public regains trust in aircraft safety,” said Kwon Yong-bok, deputy minister for the ministry’s Aviation Policy Office in a statement.

BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]


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