This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Southwest Airlines has completed the inspection of 35,000 engine fan blades mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration after a broken fan blade caused a fatal injury on Southwest Flight 1380 in April.
The carrier said it found no structural flaws with the engine fan blades in its Boeing 737s, but Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said Wednesday at the company’s annual meeting that several dozen blades were sent back to the engine manufacturer out of “an abundance of caution.”
The airline sent the handful of blades back to the engine builder General Electric because the inspection revealed some “coating anomalies,” but no signs of metal fatigue — the cause of the fatal incident on Flight 1380.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of the incident, metal fatigue caused a fan blade to break off mid-flight, which caused the engine to explode and send shrapnel crashing through a passenger’s window. That passenger, Jennifer Riordan, was nearly sucked out of the plane and later died from her injuries.
Kelly said he doesn’t anticipate any negative findings with the blades that showed anomalies in their coating, The Washington Post reports.
After Southwest Flight 1380, the FAA originally issued an emergency airworthiness directive, mandating that CFM56-7B engines on some Boeing 737s — the same engine involved in the fatal incident — that have been used in more than 30,000 cycles (roughly 20 years of service) must undergo ultrasonic inspection.
The regulatory aviation body then changed the directive to encompass all CFM56-7B engines that have seen 20,000 cycles must be inspected by August 31.
On Wednesday, the FAA pushed that deadline up to June 30, ensuring that all carriers with the CFM56-7B engine, which is one of the most popular aircraft engines in use today, would have their inspections completed even faster. The new deadline matches timeline recommendations from engine manufacturers GE and Safran.
The FAA is working with the manufacturers, other federal agencies and European regulators to prioritize the oldest engines are inspected first. “The FAA is acting to ensure an extra measure of safety for fan blade performance in CFM56 engines,” the agency said of the new deadline to USA Today.
Before the original FAA mandate to inspect the engine fan blades, Southwest had voluntarily accelerated its inspection of the engines in its fleet following Flight 1380. The carrier was already inspecting its engines after a similar incident with an engine fan blade that had metal fatigue caused engine failure, cabin depressurization and an emergency landing on a Florida-bound flight in 2016.
Featured image by NTSB via AP.
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
- Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees