Boeing Prepares Safety Measures for 737 Next Generation Jets

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Boeing Co. is finalizing a set of three safety enhancements to the engines on its popular 737 Next Generation models to prevent debris from escaping during a failure, according to U.S. regulators.

The Federal Aviation Administration outlined the fixes in a letter to the National Transportation Safety Board, dated April 2. The NTSB had recommended improvements in the engine designs after a chunk of metal flew off a Southwest Airlines Co. engine over Pennsylvania on April 17, 2018, killing a woman who was seated where the metal hit a window.

Once Boeing finalizes what are known as service bulletins instructing operators how to strengthen the smooth curved surface at the front of the engine that guides air into the turbine, the FAA plans to mandate them, the agency said in the letter.

The FAA anticipated last April that Boeing would finalize the bulletins by July, though such work is often delayed. The FAA’s letter was earlier reported by Aviation Week.

Several recent episodes in which debris broke loose from the engine inlets have prompted a move to strengthen those areas on 737 NG and some 777s.

“We continue to work with the FAA on potential design changes,” Boeing said in an emailed statement. The FAA didn’t immediately respond on Monday evening to requests for comment on the April letter.

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