FAA Proposes Mandatory Inspections and Potential Retrofits for Boeing 737 NG Engine Nacelles

boeing 737 inspection FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently put forth a crucial Airworthiness Directive (AD) aimed at ensuring the safety of Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG) aircraft. This initiative follows a tragic 2018 incident involving a Southwest Airlines flight that suffered an uncontained engine failure, leading to a fatality. The proposal calls for mandatory inspections and potential retrofits to address concerns related to fan blade failures.


In 2018, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 encountered an uncontained engine failure during a flight from Chicago Midway International Airport to Dallas Love Field Airport. The incident resulted in the detachment of a fan blade, causing significant damage and a passenger fatality. The subsequent National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation attributed the fan blade failure to metal fatigue, emphasizing the need for comprehensive safety measures.

The Proposed AD:

In response to the NTSB findings, the FAA’s proposed AD outlines essential steps for Boeing 737 NG aircraft safety:

  1. Inspections:
    • All Boeing 737 NG operators must conduct inspections on fan blades and engine nacelles.
    • Inspection intervals and procedures will vary based on aircraft model and engine type.
  2. Retrofits:
    • Certain 737 NG models may undergo mandatory retrofits for nacelle components.
    • The retrofits involve replacing susceptible components with redesigned parts to mitigate fatigue cracks.
  3. Compliance Deadlines:
    • Operators face varying deadlines for compliance, with some required to complete inspections in the next few months and others having until July 2028 for retrofits.

Impact on Airlines:

The proposed AD is expected to significantly impact airlines operating Boeing 737 NG aircraft:

  1. Operational Disruptions:
    • Inspections and potential retrofits may necessitate taking aircraft out of service, leading to flight cancellations and disruptions.
  2. Financial Implications:
    • Airlines will incur additional costs associated with inspections and retrofits.

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Industry Response:

The aviation industry has responded cautiously:

  1. Balancing Safety and Costs:
    • Airlines express concerns about potential costs and operational disruptions but acknowledge the paramount importance of passenger and crew safety.

Boeing’s Position:

Boeing is actively collaborating with the FAA to address the proposed AD:

  1. Comprehensive Compliance Plan:
    • Boeing is working on a comprehensive compliance plan for the AD.
  2. Financial Support:
    • The company plans to offer financial assistance to airlines to alleviate the financial burden associated with inspections and retrofits.

Looking Ahead:

  1. Public Comments:
    • The FAA is currently open to public comments on the proposed AD.
  2. Finalization:
    • The final AD is anticipated to be issued in the coming months, considering all public feedback.


While the proposed AD marks a crucial step toward enhancing the safety of Boeing 737 NG aircraft, it comes with notable challenges for airlines. Balancing safety with operational efficiency and financial considerations remains a delicate task. Boeing’s commitment to collaboration and financial support indicates a collective industry effort to prioritize safety in the skies.

Additional Information:

For further details on the proposed AD and related information, you can refer to the following resources:

  • FAA Website: Provides detailed information about the proposed AD, including the rule and instructions for submitting public comments.
  • NTSB Website: Offers insights into the 2018 incident and the findings of the investigation.
  • Boeing Website: Provides information about Boeing’s response to the proposed AD and its compliance plan.


This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. For specific guidance on the proposed AD and its implications, consult with a qualified aviation professional.

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