UPDATE: Qantas 737 inspections – 3 planes out of service
Qantas confirms cracks in three 737’s
Qantas has taken the three aircraft out of service, leaving them short of domestic aircraft for several weeks, while a Boeing team repairs/replaces the ‘pickle fork’ structural elements that attach the wing to the fuselage and have been the subject of the hairline cracks.
From the press release:
‘Qantas is working with Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Boeing to resolve this issue, which involves some complex repair work. All three aircraft are expected to return to service before the end of the year.
‘CEO of Qantas Domestic, Andrew David said: “As people would expect with Qantas, we’ve gone above what was required to check our aircraft well ahead of schedule.’Press Releease: Update on Qantas 737 fleet check
Virgin checks its 737’s
Virgin has been checking 19 aircraft in its fleet that meet the 22,600 cycles benchmark, and has found no cracks.
As previously reported, Qantas is undertaking checks of its entire fleet of Boeing 737’s, since a crack was detected in one of their fleet earlier this week.
Steve Purvinas, the federal secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) has called for the grounding of Qantas’s 33 strong fleets of Boeing 737’s until it is established that they are safe.
The ABC is reporting that Purvinas is aware of a second plane having cracks in the ‘pickle fork’ which is part of the landing gear, discovered overnight.
Here are the pertinent sentences from the statement Qantas issued a little after midday today (31 October):
… On Wednesday we advised that we had found one example of cracking in an aircraft with 27,000 cycles and this aircraft has been removed from service for repair. We’ll provide a further update when the checks are complete.
Qantas rejects the alarmist claims made by the licenced engineers’ union, which are irresponsible and completely inconsistent with advice from regulators and the manufacturer.Qantas statement on Boeing 737 inspections
Not a good week for Boeing
It’s not being a good day for Boeing either, with its CEO Dennis Muilenburg being verbally bludgeoned by Representative Steve Cohen from Tennessee in the USA senate enquiry. This time over whether his ‘accountability’ would mean his head should roll or his US$23million pay packet would be cut.
In my view, Qantas tend to react well to safety issues, although arguably that is because people like Purvinas are on their backs.
For Boeing, like many large companies, they maintain rewarding individuals financially for success and anonymising blame.
At some time the Boeing board is going to have to bite the bullet and demonstrate some contrition over the deaths of more than 300 crew and passengers on two of their 737 Max planes. That those accidents were avoidable if corners had not been cut, and approval procedures had independent oversight is the growing conclusion.
If that is the case, then, Boeing needs to radically lift its game to avoid diminution or annihilation.