Vietnam orders Jetstar aircraft checked on fatigue crack concerns

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The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) has ordered Jetstar Pacific to inspect its jets following the discovery in the US problems with Boeing 737 aircract, VnExpress reported Thursday.


According to the news website, the local low-cost carrier is the only one in Vietnam using aircraft of the same kind that were found having fatigue cracks early this week in the US.


It will take Jetstar Pacific five days to test its five 737-400 jets made between 1992 and 1996, VnExpress said.


VnExpress had earlier reported that following the findings in the US, the CAAV would inspect old jets, including Airbus 320 and Fokker, with 35,000 flight cycles in Vietnam.


Currently over 100 jet aircraft are operating in Vietnam, most of them between 15-20 years old, according to the administration.


Last Friday a 737 jet of the US's Southwest Airlines made an urgent landing after a crack opened along its lap joint while it was in the middle of a night flight.


This prompted the US Federal Aviation Administration to order inspections into 175 Boeing jets used around the world, ABC News reported, adding that the they were particularly concerned about the 737-300, 737-400 and 737-500 aircraft with frequent takeoffs and landings.


Eighty of the affected planes are in service in the US, most of them for Southwest Airlines, which has so far has detected fatigue cracks on another five planes.


At a press conference, Boeing officials admitted that they knew of problems with the lap joints that bind together the plane's fuselage. But, they didn't expect it to be an issue until the 737 jets had been through many more takeoff and landing cycles than the troubled plane, which had 39,000 flight cycles, ABC News reported.


Boeing has recommended that all 737 jets that have crossed the 30,000-cycle threshold be inspected for fatigue cracks, and that the inspections are repeated after every 500 flight cycles.


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