WestJet has 43 Boeing 737NG aircraft that fall under an FAA airworthiness directive and it says it will be able to comply with the AD with minimal disruption to its schedule. Last Thursday, the U.S. regulator required operators of the popular airliner to check for cracks in the “pickle fork” assembly in affected airliners. All 7,000 NG models in service, including 600, 700, 800 and 900 series aircraft are covered by the AD. Sunwing operates about 40 NGs but did not say how many are affected by the AD. It also said there will be no schedule disruptions.
The AD was issued after Boeing notified the FAA that it had found cracks in the pickle fork of a 737NG with about 30,000 cycles on it, about a third of its life expectancy. The pickle fork, the main structural member joining the fuselage and wings, is designed to last the life of the aircraft. The AD does not apply to 737 MAX aircraft and that’s the only type of 737 that Air Canada flies. Virtually every NG in flying condition has been pressed into service with the grounding of 400 MAXes and any significant disruption in their availability would put even more pressure on worldwide airline schedules.
An earlier story said 1100 NGs were affected. In fact all NGs were covered by the AD.