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WestJet, Sunwing inspects Boeing 737 NG aircraft for cracks after FAA directive

A Westjet Boeing 737-700 taxis to a gate after arriving at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., on Monday, February 3, 2014. WestJet Airlines says it is inspecting its fleet of Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft for cracks after reports of issues on the plane series.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
October 03, 2019 - 2:30 PM

CALGARY - WestJet Airlines and Sunwing Vacations Inc. say they are examining their fleets of Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft for cracks after a U.S. regulator ordered the inspections.

Calgary-based WestJet says it has 43 aircraft that fall under an inspection directive issued by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Thursday.

The company says it has had no structural cracks in its 737 NG fleet and expects minimal disruptions from the inspections.

Sunwing Vacations Inc. said it had received the directive from the FAA and will be inspecting its fleet as appropriate but didn't expect any disruptions to its schedule.

The company did not say how many of its planes require inspection, but it has more than 40 of the Boeing 737 NG aircraft in its fleet.

Air Canada says it does not have any of the Boeing 737 NG planes.

Air Transat flies two versions of the 737 NG plane. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The FAA said in its directive that it estimates an airplane inspection for the problem would take about an hour.

It said that if the cracking was not addressed it could lead to a loss of control of the airplane.

The inspection order comes as Boeing remains under scrutiny after two deadly crashes led to a grounding of its Boeing 737 Max aircraft in March.

The crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia killed a total of 346 people on board, including 18 Canadians.

WestJet announced in September that it was removing 737 Max jets from its holiday schedule while Air Canada warned the impact of the grounded jet on its operations may ripple well into 2021.

Sunwing said in August that its four Maxes will be absent from the rotation until mid-May, with some 3,000 flights having been affected over the summer alone.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2019.

Companies in this story: (TSX:WJA)

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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