Lion Air next to find cracked pickle forks on B737NGs

November 12, 2019 12:55 pm
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Asianmail Desk

Lion Air (JT, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) has grounded two B737NG narrowbodies with less than 22,000 flight cycles each after having discovered cracks in the so-called pickle fork area connecting the wing and the fuselage, Reuters has reported.

The grounding is significant as it marks the first occurrence of pickle fork cracks on aircraft with less than 22,600 flight cycles. In its October 2 airworthiness directive, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered all airlines to immediately check all aircraft with over 30,000 accumulated flight cycles and within seven months for units with over 22,600 flight cycles. Aircraft with less than 22,600 flight cycles were scheduled for inspections prior to reaching this threshold.

A spokesperson for Lion Air confirmed that the airline undertook inspections of its jets ahead of the mandated schedule.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, the Indonesian LCC currently operates 107 aircraft, excluding ten grounded B737-8s and four B737-9s. Its fleet consists of sixty-four B737-900(ER)s, thirty-eight B737-800s, three A330-300s, and two A330-900s. Of the B737NGs, all but two -900(ER)s had less than 22,000 flight cycles as of August 31, 2019, and another five -900(ER)s had between 21,000 and 22,000 cycles.

In Indonesia, Sriwijaya Air (SJ, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) and Garuda Indonesia (GA, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) grounded two and one B737-800, respectively, over pickle fork cracks in October. Worldwide, other airlines which have discovered cracks on its aircraft included Southwest Airlines, GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, Korean Air, Qantas, and others.