Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, which operates the largest fleet of Boeing 737s in Europe, has decided to ground at least three of its aircraft due to cracks between the wing and fuselage, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.
While other airlines, such as Australia’s Qantas and the US’ Southwest, have previously disclosed the number of aircraft they grounded, Ryanair was silent until The Guardian saw a copy of the company's engineering logs with the registration numbers of planes with “pickle fork cracks”.
“AOG [aircraft on ground] – R/H pickle fork crack – on repair in VCV [Victorville]”, the logs read.
The pickle fork is a structure that strengthens the connection between the wing and the body of the plane. The first problems with the structure emerged in early October in China, prompting the Asian nation conducting an urgent check.
Following the incident in China, the US Federal Aviation Authority issued an urgent directive to check all 737s above 30,000 flight cycles within a week.
Earlier this month, the Australian airline Qantas Airways grounded three of its Boeing 737 NG planes over hairline cracks found in the “pickle fork” structure between the wing and the fuselage.