Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 (LN2318) on final approach after prenatal test flight in the evening.
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The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday directed airlines to inspect some of the stored Boeing 737 aircraft for corrosion, causing hundreds of aircraft to remain idle due to a drop in demand amid the coronary epidemic.
The FAA said that the order for inspection of aircraft that have not been operational for a week or more will affect 2,000 aircraft in the US. The order does not pertain to the Boeing 737 Max, which has been frozen worldwide since March 2019 after two fatal accidents.
Boeing said it advised operators of older 737 aircraft to inspect engine valves for corrosion. The FAA stated in its order that the single-engine shutdown due to the bleed air of the engine resulted in an airwardness direction, which was left open.
“While the airplane is being stored or used due to low demand during the COVID-19 epidemic, the valve may be more corrosive,” the manufacturer said in a statement.
American Airlines said four of its more than 300 Boeing 737 NG aircraft were inspected and cleaned. American Airlines spokesman Ros Feinstein said carrier operations were not expected to be disrupted.
Southwest Airlines, which operates an all-Boeing 737 fleet, said it “has not experienced the conditions described in the directive,” but is reviewing the order to see if it applies to its aircraft .
“Currently, we do not anticipate any malfunctions in our operations as we work to review aircraft affected by storage,” the Dallas-based airline said in a statement.
Delta Air Lines also said that it does not expect any impact to its operations or flight schedule.
“Our commitment to safety for our customers and people calls on our regulators to meet and exceed all directives – including airworthiness directives,” the carrier said in a statement. “We will ensure compliance with this directive as Delta is no more important than the safety of our customers and people.”
United Airlines also said that it is compliant with the directive and is not expected to disrupt its schedule.