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Boeing may recommend more 767 inspections

Boeing says airlines that fly its 767 are likely to be asked to increase inspections for cracks where the engine attaches to the wing.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Boeing Co. said it is likely to recommend more inspections for some of its 767s after American Airlines found cracks where the engine attaches to the wing.

Boeing is considering asking airlines to inspect the wings every 400 flights, spokesman Peter Conte said on Thursday. He said Boeing wants airlines to evaluate how the proposed change would affect their maintenance and flight operations. He said the new recommendation, called a service bulletin, is expected in mid-July.

Currently the Federal Aviation Administration requires inspections every 1,500 flights. But the cracks on at least two American jets were found after fewer flights. That raises the possibility that the wings are more susceptible to cracks than previously thought. American, a unit of AMR Corp., has already inspected all 56 of its affected planes.

About 260 jets built before June 1997 are involved. Planes built after that had a different design that prevents the cracks, Conte said. Another 400 planes built before 1997 were retrofitted with a reinforced wing strut aimed at preventing the cracks.

The extra inspections would only be mandatory if the FAA issues its own order. It has not decided whether to mandate the increased inspections and is waiting to see Boeing's service bulletin, FAA spokesman Les Dorr said.

Other operators of the affected jets include Delta Air Lines Inc., UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, Continental Airlines Inc., and US Airways Group Inc.