Boeing has advised operators of older 737 ‘classics’ to check them for signs of stress and fatigue, in light of the recent Southwest Airlines incident where a hole opened up in the upper fuselage of one of the airline’s 737-300s.
The manufacturer said it was preparing a service bulletin for fuselage inspections, as the US Federal Aviation Administration confirmed it would require inspections of 175 older model 737-300/400/500s which have flown over 30,000 cycles. Included in that number are four older Qantas 737-400s. A Qantas spokeswoman told AAP that the airline will inspect the aircraft over the next 10 days.
Boeing’s inspection warning follows Southwest’s decision to voluntarily begin checks on 79 of its own 737-300s.
There are approximately 1800 737 ‘classics’ operating around the world.