Following Tuesday’s terrifying incident on a Southwest flight where one passenger died and seven others were injured after the plane suffered a midair engine explosion, United has announced it plans to inspect all its engines to hopefully avoid a similar accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board found that the Southwest engine, a CFM56-7B, showed signs of “metal fatigue” where a fan blade separated from the engine. The Board will conduct a further inspection to determine the cause. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said there were no problems with the plane or its engine when it was inspected on Sunday.
This particular model of engine is made by CFM International, which is jointly owned by General Electric and Safran Aircraft Engines of France. Debuting in 1997, the CFM56-7B powers more than 6,700 aircrafts worldwide, according to a statement released by CFM.
“The CFM56-7B engine powering this aircraft has compiled an outstanding safety and reliability record since entering revenues...The engine family has accumulated more than 350 million flight hours as one of the most reliable and popular jet engines in airline history,” the statement read.
United COO Greg Hart said in a quarterly earnings call Wednesday that the airline would be inspecting 698 CFM International engines on its Boeing 737 fleet as advised in a recent service bulletin from the manufacturer, Flight Global reports.
The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to inspect the remainder of Southwest’s CFM-manufactured engines. CFM said it has deployed 40 technicians to assist with the airline’s “accelerated inspection program related to the CFM56-7B engine, which powers most of the airline’s Next-Generation 737 fleet. Out of an abundance of caution, the ultrasonic inspections are being conducted on a population of fan blades.”