Seoul, South Korea - 13 Boeing 737 NG jets have been grounded in South Korea due to the pickle fork cracks.
The South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) inspected 100 737NGs that are currently serving at the country's airlines and found cracks on the pickle forks of 13 aircraft.
Nine of these planes have so far carried out more than 30,000 takeoff and landing cycles. The remaining four aircraft are between 20,000 to 30,000 flight cycles, says the South Korean ministry.
Boeing sent an engineering team to the country on Oct. 31st. at the request of MOLIT to repair the affected 737NGs. The team is expected to finish the repair job by early 2020.
South Korean carriers operate 153 Boeing 737NG jets of which are mostly the 737-800s. The south Korean government did not specify to which airline belong the affected planes.
Pickle fork is a part that connects the wing structure to the aircraft's fuselage. The cracks on these parts threaten the structural integrity of the aircraft.
Global regulators had warned the airlines of their countries to inspect the 737NGs with more than 30,000 flight cycles. But the inspections revealed that there were cracks on the planes, less than 30,000 takeoff and landing cycles as well.
South Korean airlines joined several other airlines in the Asia-Pacific region to ground some of their 737NGs due to the pickle fork cracks.
Qantas has grounded three 737-800. Indonesian carriers Sriwijaya Air (two) and Garuda Indonesia (one) have grounded three aircraft in total.
Another Indonesian operator Lion Air has also reported structural cracks on two 737NG jets in its fleet with less than 22,000 flight cycles.