The Boeing B737NG, which is undergoing a safety inspection after a crack was found in its fuselage, has turned out to have more problems in other parts. The 42 units of B737NG, whose inspection has already been finished last month, will inevitably enter another round of safety test as the headquarters of Boeing are reportedly filing a request to inspect the defects in other parts of the plane. This will also impede the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport’s plan to finalize the comprehensive check on 150 Boeing B737NG models currently serviced in South Korea within this year, causing confusion and fear to passengers.
The newly found crack was detected in a part called the pickle fork, which links the fuselage and wings of the plane. Experts say that the flaw would be preventable enough and wound not lead to fatal incidents like the crash case of software malfunction of the Boeing 737 Max. Concerns remain, however, as the B737NG is the flagship model for low-cost airliners, and many of them in service are quite old. Two rounds of safety inspection by the ministry found cracks in 11 out of 64 planes posting more than 26,000 cumulative flights (17%). The ratio is much higher than the global average where 53 out of 1,130 units were found to have defects (4.7%). This reflects that the share of older models is higher in South Korea.
However minor, any defect on an airplane can prove fatal as even a small incident can lead to a massive disaster in the skies. It is regrettable that airliners will face increasing financial burden owing to the suspension of the old plane models. But we’ve all witnessed the costly and fatal consequences of cutting corners and the resultant human errors. The ministry of transport must make a thorough inspection into the case and ensure the safety of flights.