The flag carrier of Israel El Al is reportedly performing a detailed inspection of its Boeing 737 fleet after finding some attachment cracks on the external aircraft in-flight connectivity systems of two of its Boeing 737-900ER jets, Flightglobal reports.

 

On August 17, 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an airworthiness directive (AD), warning about a potentially unsafe condition affecting the Boeing 737-800 and 737-900ER jets. 

 

Cracks were found on the fittings that provide attachment between the radome and fuselage of the -800 and -900ER jets modified under a particular supplemental type certificate. 

The authority warned that cracking raises serious risks that aircraft tail and fuselage may be further damaged, as the radome and antenna could detach and be lost in-flight.

The authority instructed airlines in the United States to conduct structural inspections to check for cracking and de-modification of the in-flight connectivity systems. 

Outside the United States, Israel’s national carrier El Al is understood to be among the operators affected by the issue. 

The airline is reportedly performing a detailed inspection of itsfull Boeing 737 narrow-body fleet after finding some cracks on the external aircraft in-flight connectivity systems of two of its Boeing 737-900ER jets, Flightglobal reports. The air carrier operates a fleet of 24 Boeing 737s, all of them in either -800 or -900ER variants.

In July 2021, El Al reportedly warned the plane manufacturer Boeing and the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel that it had found unusual issues on two Boeing 737-900ER jets during regular maintenance checks. 

First launched in 1994, the Boeing 737-800 variant, capable of flying up to 189 passengers, replaced the aged Boeing 727-200 tri-jet and became the most common variant of the 737NG [Next Generation engine option - ed. note] narrow-body aircraft. According to the Boeing orders and deliveries list, as of July 31, 2021, the manufacturer had two -800 variants on order bringing a total number of completed deliveries through a 24-year-period to 4,991 jets. 

Meanwhile, the 737-900ER [Extended Range - ed. note] jet, the latest variant of the 737NG planes with a capacity for up to 220 travelers, was introduced in 2006 as a competitor liner for the Airbus A321 jet. However, the -900ER variant could not boast such a demand – Boeing has delivered 505 jets of the type with none aircraft on order yet.