Airlines gear up for wing check

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai, Sep 4 | Updated: Sep 5 2007, 05:34am hrs
Airlines like Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Air India Express are gearing up for aircraft wing checks within the next ten days. The move follows the directive issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on September 1 to all airlines using the Boeing 737-700, 800 and 900 series of aircraft to compulsorily check their wings.

The directive came into force following a recent incident of China Airlines Boeing 737 catching fire in Japan. The fire was due to suspect malfunctions of hardware in a wing of the aircraft which is believed to have caused a fuel leak, leading to a major fire in the left engine soon after the plane landed on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

Later, the US department of transports Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) directed all carriers to get the wings of these planes checked. India has also got this directive.

Confirming receipt of the directive from the DGCA, Saroj Datta, executive director, Jet Airways said, We shall complete the check within ten days. Forty five of Jets fleet of 64 aircraft and 15 of JetLite are covered by the DGCA directive.

However, an engineer from Air India Express explained that a wing check does not require grounding of the aircraft. The check is basically to ensure that nuts inside the movable slat system on each wing do not fall off and possibly damage the fuel tank as it happened in the case of China Airlines (Slats are panels that extend from the front of the wing to help give an aircraft lift at lower speeds such as during landing and takeoff).