Ryanair has withdrawn three of its 737-800 aircraft from service after discovering cracks between the aircraft’s fuselage and wing
Boeing alerted operators of its 737NG variants in September of this issue (cracks in the ‘pickle forks’ – part of the airframe structure designed to strengthen the connection between the aircraft’s wing and fuselage) and more than fifty aeroplanes are currently affected.
The FAA issued an airworthiness directive for inspection of aircraft that have undertaken more than 30,000 flights but cracks have also been found in aeroplanes below this number.
Qantas recently grounded one of its 737NGs which has done fewer than 27,000 journeys.
Meantime, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended reinforced fan cowls for all 737NG aircraft, after analysing the April 2018 incident with a Southwest Airlines flight that resulted in one passenger fatality.