More frequent aircraft checks required

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, August 31, 2007 – Caribbean Airlines is among scores of airlines around the world which the United States now want to conduct inspection of their Boeing 737 aircraft every 10 days, if they are permitted to operate to American territory.

The move by the Federal Aviation Administration comes after a Boeing 737 operated by China Airlines suddenly burst in flames after landing at Japan’s Nara airport in Okinawa on August 20. The passengers and crew safely evacuated.

Investigations revealed that hardware in the aircraft had come loose and punctured the fuel tank.

In an Airworthiness Directive issued on August 28, the FAA said airlines are now required to inspect the Boeing models 737-600, -700, -700C, -800 and-900ER aircraft every 10 days, in addition to regular maintenance that occurs on 24-day intervals.

The checks are to ensure that all parts of the aircraft’s hardware have not come loose.

The Caribbean Airlines fleet consists of six Boeing 737-800 154 seats jets and an Airbus A340-313.

The other Caribbean airline, Air Jamaica, operates only Airbus jets.