Hundreds of Qantas, Virgin and Tigerair planes are fitted with the same engine that exploded on a Southwest airlines flight in the US, killing a female passenger.
The engine on a Boeing 737 Next Generation airline exploded 20 minutes after leaving New York on Tuesday, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia as seven passengers were injured.
The Boeing 737 is the best-selling airliner in the world and thousands of Australians fly domestically on the plane every day.
One person was killed and seven others sustained injuries after the engine on a Boeing 737 Next Generation airline exploded 20 minutes after leaving New York
156 Boeing Next generation airlines are currently operating domestically in Australia
‘Boeing 737 Next generation’ is the umbrella name given to the 600, 700, 800, 900 series of the Boeing 737.
Qantas, Virgin and Tigerair all own Bowing 737, with Virgin flying the exact same 737-700 model as the Southwest plane, The Herald Sun reported.
An Ohio company called CFM International is the sole supplier of Boeing 737 Next generation planes and makes the CFM56 engine that exploded.
An investigation is currently under way into the cause of the explosion.
‘CFM has sent a team of technical representatives to the site to assist the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation. CFM cannot provide information about the accident or details related to it,’ the company said in a statement.
Victim: Jennifer Riordan, a mother-of-two and bank vice-president at Wells Fargo in Albuquerque, New Mexico
The National Transport Safety Board, which investigates the most serious engine failures, have said that initial investigations revealed there was evidence of metal fatigue in the engine.
Dr Nicholas Hutchins, a researcher in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Melbourne, has said the explosion was highly likely to be caused by engine failure.
‘It appears that there was some uncontained failure in the engine, which led to a piece of the engine piercing the fuselage, leading to depressurisation,’ he said.
‘Certainly there will be a thorough investigation to establish whether this is a maintenance issue or some wider design issue with the engine, which depending on the outcome may have ramifications to Australian operators.’
Qantas is thought to have 70 737-800 liners in its fleet. Virgin Australia has 80 and Tigerair has four. Virgin is also thought to have two 737-700s operating.
A spokesman for Virgin, which owns Tigerair, said that passenger safety was their number one priority.
‘The Virgin Australia Group operates Boeing 737-700 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft in its fleet and they are maintained to the highest standards in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations and regulatory requirements.’
Qantas, Virgin and Tigerair all have planes in their fleets that carry the same engine
An investigation is currently underway into the cause of the explosion and weather it was engine fault
A spokesman for Qantas said the aircraft specifications were slightly different to the planes they operate but that the airline was watching the investigations closely.
The National Transportation Safety Board may make recommendations that would effect Australian operated planes.
CFM highlighted the fact that the Boeing 737 is the best-selling jetliner in the world and overall has a good safety record in a statement.
‘The CFM56-7B engine powering this aircraft has compiled an outstanding safety and reliability record since entering revenues service in 1997 while powering more than 6,700 aircraft worldwide.’
‘The engine has accumulated more than 350 million flight hours as one of the most reliable and popular jet engine in airline history.’
Qantas is thought to have 70, 737-800 liners, in its fleet, while Virgin Australia has 80 and Tigerair has four. Virgin is also thought to have two 737-700s operating