Apr 7, 2024 - Business

FAA investigates after Boeing 737-800 part falls off on Southwest flight

A Southwest Airlines Co. Boeing Co. 737-800 jet aircraft taxis on the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, March 27, 2019.

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 jet aircraft in 2019. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration launched a fresh investigation into Boeing after an engine cowling fell off and struck the wing flap during takeoff on Sunday morning, per an FAA statement.

The big picture: There were no reports of injuries from the latest incident to affect a Boeing plane, and the FAA noted the Houston-bound Southwest Airlines 737-800 aircraft returned safely to Denver International Airport around 8:15am local time.

Between the lines: Engine cowlings are designed to be accessible for maintenance by airlines, and the incident is unlikely to be related to Boeing's broader safety issues with new aircraft, per Axios' Andrew Freedman.

Zoom out: Southwest has 207 Boeing 737-800 aircraft and the average age of the airline's fleet is about 12 years, per an online company statement.

What they're saying: Southwest Airlines said in an emailed statement Sunday evening that its maintenance teams were reviewing the aircraft after Flight 3695 experienced a "mechanical issue."

  • It apologized for inconveniencing affected passengers, who arrived in Houston on another plane about three hours behind schedule.
  • A spokesperson for Boeing declined to comment on the matter and referred Axios to Southwest for information about their airplane and fleet operations.

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