Southwest Says It Hasn’t Found Signs of Metal Fatigue on Inspected Engines

Apr 27, 2018

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Southwest Airlines says that it hasn’t found any signs of metal fatigue on its jet engines in the days since last week’s fatal accident.

“With the inspections we have stepped up since last week, we have no findings at this point, which is obviously what we would expect,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said on Thursday.

Bloomberg reports that as of Thursday, the carrier has inspected all but about 10,000 of the 35,500 fan blades that are equipped on its CFM56-7B engines. The carrier began inspections in 2017, completing about 17,000 before Flight 1380 last week. Since the accident, Southwest said that it’s stepped up inspections on the remaining fan blades.

During its inspections that began last year, a Southwest executive said that it did discover one cracked blade, which was discarded and replaced. But during its most recent, expedited inspections, the carrier hasn’t found any additional fan blades that have shown metal fatigue.

Last year, CFM, the joint-venture company behind the CFM56-7B engines in question recommended to airlines that they inspect engines following a 2016 incident, again with Southwest Airlines. Last Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency directive for airlines to complete checks of all CFM56-7B engines that have operated more than 30,000 cycles within 30 days.

On Thursday, CFM issued a statement saying that 60% of the approximately 680 engines covered under the FAA directive and regulations in other parts of the world have been inspected.

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