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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has identified more than 300 Boeing 737 aircraft that require inspection over concerns about “improper manufacturing” components in the planes’ wings, as the leading edge slat tracks may have been improperly manufactured.
A total of 312 Boeing jets worldwide have so far been identified — 133 737NGs, which stands for ‘Next Generation’, the generation before the newest MAX version, and 179 Boeing 737 MAXs.
Carriers operating the affected planes will soon be issued with an Airworthiness Directive (AD) to identify and remove any discrepant parts from service.
If you are flying an airline that operates some of the jets that have been identified, your flight may be affected as the airline takes the aircraft out of service to comply with the Airworthiness Directive.
How Can You Tell If You Are on One of These Aircraft?
All Boeing 737 MAX aircraft worldwide have been grounded since March following two crashes of that model of plane. So the 179 Boeing 737 MAXs identified for this potential improper manufacturing are already grounded and can be inspected while those airlines await new certification from the FAA. You can read our guide on how to determine if you were (or are) scheduled to fly on a Boeing 737 MAX.
For the 133 737NGs affected, Boeing has not yet publicly released the serial numbers of the aircraft that have been identified, nor has it announced to which airlines they belong.
There are currently more than 7,000 Boeing 737NGs flown by dozens of airlines around the world across the -600, -700, -800 and -900 variants. This means the 133 identified represent just 2.5% of the worldwide fleet, so the chances you are scheduled to fly on one of the 133 the FAA has identified is low. By far the most popular variant of the Boeing 737NG is the 737-800 for which there are almost 5,000 models produced.
In the United States, Boeing 737NGs are operated by the following US-based airlines:
- Alaska Airlines (138 in fleet)
- American Airlines (304)
- Delta Air Lines (217)
- Southwest Airlines (695)
- Sun Country (18)
- Swift Air (4)
- United Airlines (329)
Southwest is the world’s largest Boeing 737 operator. Air Canada and WestJet are also notable 737 operators in North America.
In Europe, significant operators of the Boeing 737NG include Ryanair, Norwegian and Turkish Airlines.
The best way to check if you are flying on a Boeing 737NG is to click on the flight details when either booking your flight or in the ‘Manage My Booking’ section of your existing itinerary. If the aircraft type listed is any of Boeing 737-600/-700/-800/-900, this means you are flying on a Boeing 737NG.
For example, here is Southwest’s booking page, showing a 737-800 (or, NG) to operate a service (with a reference to its grounded MAX fleet).
If the airline simply lists ‘Boeing 737’, there is still a large chance it is a NG, as the majority of 737s operating are the NG version. The NGs are replacing the older -100/-200/-300/-400 and -500 previous generation variants in the same way the latest MAX variant may eventually replace the NGs.
Given the large 737 fleets many major carriers operate, the relatively small number that the FAA have identified should hopefully not cause a significant disruption to summer travel plans.
Featured image by Marco Garcia/The Points Guy
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