Regulators Speed Checks on 737 Engines Tied to Southwest Death

(Bloomberg) -- Air-safety regulators have ordered more-intensive checks on engines that power thousands of older Boeing Co. 737 planes after an exploding turbine on a Southwest Airlines Co. flight caused the death of a passenger earlier this year.

The European Aviation Safety Agency starting on Oct. 5 will require CFM56 engines to undergo inspections every 1,600 flight cycles, down from 3,000, according to its website. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Monday issued a matching order that takes effect Oct. 16.

Regulators Speed Checks on 737 Engines Tied to Southwest Death

The ruling comes after a woman was killed on a Southwest Airlines flight in April after being partly sucked through a window that had been smashed by a metal fan blade ejected from an engine midflight. Preliminary findings suggest the incident was due to the fracturing of the blade and that without checks there’s a risk of it being repeated.

Southwest earlier cut the inspection interval for its older engines to the 1,600 cycle interval.

The directives apply to an earlier generation of Boeing 737 jets that are equipped with the CFM56 engine. CFM International in July recommended that airline operators undergo inspections at the intervals ordered by the regulators.

CFM is a joint venture between General Electric Co. and France’s Safran SA. Only certain models of the CFM56 are affected, and the directives don’t concern engines used on the new 737 Max model.

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