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Ryanair grounds some of its fleet after identifying structural cracks

Boeing has identified 50 planes worldwide affected by cracks.

Boeing 737 plane.
Boeing 737 plane.
Image: Shutterstock/Rebius

RYANAIR HAS GROUNDED some of its Boeing 737 planes after structural cracks were discovered during a security check.  

Manufacturer Boeing last week announced that it had identified cracks in up to 50 jets worldwide.

The affected model – 737 NG – is used by a number of airlines, including Ryanair, and led airline regulators in the US to issue an Airworthiness Directive, meaning all airlines operating 737 NG planes must check their fleet. 

The Guardian newspaper today reported that three of Ryanair’s Boeing 737 planes have been grounded and are being repaired at locations in Britain and the US. 

A Ryanair spokesperson, last week told TheJournal.ie that it was “reviewing its aircraft but did not “expect it to have any impact upon our operations”. 

Today, it confirmed that a number of its planes have, in fact, been affected by structural cracks and are being repaired by Boeing. 

In a statement today,the spokesperson said: “Ryanair has already inspected over 70 of its oldest aircraft in full compliance with the Airworthiness Directive, and our rate of findings is less than the industry wide 5% confirmed by Boeing recently.

“Ryanair will continue to inspect the remainder of its fleet, in full compliance with the Airworthiness Directive, and we are confident that the tiny number of pickle fork cracks, if any, will not affect either Ryanair’s fleet, its flights, or its schedules.”

Airworthy

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) told TheJournal.ie that it will “monitor closely the developments” of the investigation being carried out by the Federal Aviation Authority in the US. 

It also said that if cracks are discovered planes must be grounded until they are repaired. 

“This AD can indirectly result in grounding of airplanes: if cracks are found during the inspection, the aircraft is no longer airworthy and needs to be repaired before next flight,” a spokesperson said. 

“This can result in Aircraft on Ground (AOG) situation until the repairs have taken place and the safety of the aircrafts are ensured.”

Last Thursday, Qantas Airlines in Australia discovered cracks in one of its planes which it said was grounded immediately. It said an inspection of its 32 other planes from that model had been ordered. 

Southwest airlines in the US and South Korean airline Korean Air have also grounded some of their planes while inspections and repairs are carried out. 

A Boeing spokesperson said the company “regrets the impact” the issue was having on its customers and was “working around the clock” to fix it. 

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