Ryanair Grounds Three Boeing 737s for Cracks

LONDON (AFP) — Irish airline Ryanair said Wednesday that three of its Boeing 737NG planes were taken out of service due to cracks, a problem that has grounded dozens of the jets globally.

“Ryanair has already inspected over 70 of its oldest aircraft in full compliance with the Airworthiness Directive (of the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority), and our rate of findings is less than the industry-wide 5.0% confirmed by Boeing recently,” the Irish airline said in an email to Agence France-Presse.

“Boeing are carrying out these repairs on behalf of Ryanair currently,” the low-cost carrier added, after The Guardian newspaper reported that cracks had been found on three Ryanair jets between the wing and fuselage.

The Dublin-based airline — the world’s biggest operator of Boeing’s popular 737NG aircraft — said the repairs would have no impact on its flight schedules.

“Ryanair will continue to inspect the remainder of its fleet, in full compliance with the Airworthiness Directive, and we are confident that the tiny number of pickle fork cracks, if any, will not affect either Ryanair’s fleet, its flights, or its schedules,” the carrier said.

Boeing had previously reported a problem with the model’s pickle fork — which helps bind the wing to the fuselage.

Boeing announced on Oct. 31 that dozens of 737NG planes had been taken out of service after the cracks were detected, marking another setback for the crisis-stricken U.S. aircraft maker.

The new difficulties compound troubles facing Boeing, which has faced tumbling profits, federal scrutiny and calls for its CEO to resign after deadly crashes involving the 737 MAX, the plane that succeeded the 737NG.

© Agence France-Presse

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