Published: Mon, April 23, 2018
Finance | By Jaime Brady

Southwest cancels flights, inspects fan blades

Southwest cancels flights, inspects fan blades

On Friday, the United States and European airline regulators have ordered emergency inspections of almost 700 aircraft engines within 20 days similar to one the involved in a Southwest Airlines mid-air engine failure flying from NY to Dallas earlier this week, citing concerns of a similar mishap.

Southwest said the grounded flights were part of a voluntary inspection of its engines.

The FAA and EASA directives came on the same day that the engine manufacturer, CFM International, issued a service bulletin recommending the CFM56-7B engine be inspected more frequently.

"The inspection, conducted on-wing with an ultrasonic probe along the surface of the fan blade, takes about four hours per engine", CFM said.

The letter is separate from the official statement below issued by Southwest Airlines following the tragedy last Tuesday.

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If you're flying Southwest, check your flight status.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Indonesia's Sriwijaya Air is most exposed, with 26 aircraft powered by CFM56-7B engines in its fleet. It's unclear how many of those are due to inspections. "Our Technical Operations Team is working safely and diligently to accomplish the inspections as soon as possible, including during the overnight period", Southwest says.

In a statement released Sunday, Southwest said it notified customers Tuesday that there might be an impact because of the inspections.

Flight 1380 was diverted to Philadelphia International Airport shortly after its 10:30 a.m. takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

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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