Govt orders emergency engine checks for Korean airlines’ Boeing 737 jets

Boeing's 777X was originally scheduled to take off on its first flight this summer. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Jul 25, 2020, Yonhap. South Korea’s transport ministry on Saturday issued an emergency order instructing local airlines to inspect their Boeing 737 jets following reports of engine shutdowns during flights, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Boeing 737 airplanes that parked for at least seven straight days, or flew fewer than 11 times since being returned to service, are subject to the inspection, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said, adding that nine South Korean airlines currently operate a total of 148 jets of this type.

The directive is in line with an order by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which received four reports that certain engine valves were stuck open.

Corrosion of the valves on both engines could cause a complete loss of power without the ability to restart the engines, forcing pilots to land somewhere other than an airport, according to the FAA.

“With airplanes being stored or used infrequently due to lower demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, the valve can be more susceptible to corrosion,” Boeing said in a statement.

“We ordered the operators to check their key engine parts and change the parts if they spot problems before their resumption of service,” a ministry official said. “We will thoroughly look into whether they fully implement necessary safety steps.”

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