Boeing plane’s engine cover falls off, investigation begins

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  • by Michael Race
  • business reporter

image Source, getty images

Airline regulators in the US have launched an investigation after the engine cowling of a Boeing 737-800 fell off during take-off and hit a wing flap.

The Southwest Airlines flight returned safely to Denver International Airport at approximately 08:15 local time (15:15 GMT) after originally departing for Houston.

The plane was carrying 135 passengers and six crew members and rose to about 10,300 feet (3,140 m) before landing.

The incident comes amid manufacturing and safety concerns at Boeing.

Southwest Airlines said its maintenance teams will review the Boeing 737-800 after a cover covering the plane’s engine fell off. The airline confirmed that it was responsible for the maintenance of such parts.

“We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the delay, but keep the safety of our customers and employees as our top priority,” it said in a statement.

The plane was manufactured in 2015, according to regulatory Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, and the 737-800 is the previous generation of the 737 from the latest Max models.

Both aircraft are powered by CFM56 engines – a joint venture between General Electric Aerospace and Safran Aircraft Engines.

The FAA said the Boeing plane was towed to the gate after landing.

Boeing declined to comment when contacted by BBC News, and referred questions to Southwest for information about the airline’s aircraft and fleet operations.

Southwest said it would fly passengers to Houston on another plane, about three hours behind schedule.

Boeing is being investigated after a dramatic mid-air explosion in January in which passengers narrowly escaped serious injury on a flight from Portland, Oregon, to California.

Regulators temporarily grounded nearly 200 Boeing 737 Max 9 jets after a door plug fell from an Alaska plane shortly after takeoff.

Boeing has been trying to repair its reputation for years after a different version of the 737 Max plane crashed in 2018 and 2019, killing 346 people.

Its popular 737 Max planes were later grounded globally for more than 18 months.

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