Boeing ignored 16″ crack in fuselage on Malaysian 777

article-0-1C2D00FC00000578-387_634x433BY ANDREA SHALAL

Boeing Co on Wednesday said the missing 777 Malaysia Airlines jetliner was not subject to a new U.S. safety directive that ordered additional inspections for cracking and corrosion on certain 777 planes.

The Federal Aviation Administration last week ordered additional, repeated inspections of certain Boeing 777 aircraft, warning that corrosion and cracking could lead to rapid decompression and damage to the structure of the aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration told airlines to inspect U.S. registered aircraft for cracking, corrosion and potential repairs after receiving a report about a 16-inch crack in the fuselage skin underneath an adapter for the airplane’s satellite communications antenna.

Boeing said it worked closely with the FAA to monitor the fleet for potential safety issues and take appropriate actions. But it said the 777-200ER Malaysia Airlines aircraft did not have that antenna installed and was not subject to the FAA order.

An FAA spokesman on Wednesday also cautioned against linking the directive, one of hundreds issued annually by the agency, to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

“There is absolutely no indication whatsoever that this had anything to do with the accident,” said the spokesman, who also noted that airplanes were built with redundancies in the fuselage and inspection process to catch cracks or corrosion before they got bigger and caused problems.

The FAA first proposed the additional inspections for 120 U.S.-registered aircraft in September before finalizing the directive in February and then publishing them in the U.S. Federal Register on March 5. The new rule takes effect April 9.

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