It has since emerged that CFM International, which manufactures the engines that power the Boeing 737-series, had issued a service bulletin and sought an FAA Airworthiness Directive to mandate safety inspections following an uncontained engine failure aboard a 2016 Southwest Airlines flight that bears a striking resemblance to Tuesday's fatal incident. A spokeswoman told AP that the airline had already inspected about half of the engine blades identified by the manufacturer's recommendation before this week's accident.
The affected Southwest Boeing 737 took off Tuesday morning from Newyork, headed for Dallas.
The manufacturer had issued two service bulletins a year ago calling for additional inspections of fan blades on the CFM56-7B engines following a similar episode in 2016 on another Southwest plane.
At issue are the engine fan blades on Boeing 737s.
The Philadelphia-to-Dallas flight made an emergency landing after the engine failure in Philadelphia. The EASA had rejected a request by one airline to double the time allowed for checks to 18 months, saying the data did not justify it.
The divergence marked a rare difference of approach between the two agencies, especially on one of the world's most-used aviation products.
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The engines that must be inspected are manufactured by CFM International.
'It happens that there are disagreements about the right way to go in some cases, and this was one of them, ' the person familiar with the discussions said. A spokesman said the agency juggles dozens of rules simultaneously, and the time to complete a final regulation varies based on many factors including complexity of the issue. Federal safety investigators have said the naked eye can not detect the cracks and signs of metal fatigue that doomed the engine on Southwest Flight 1380.
The FAA and NTSB have different roles.
Investigators are still probing what caused the explosion and the plane had been tested for safety just three days before the catastrophe.
CNN has reached out to Southwest Airlines for comment, but has not heard back.
Such inspections, noted The New York Times, can "detect flaws or cracks not visible to the unaided human eye".
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered the inspection of nearly 700 Boeing 737 engines across the globe over the next 20 days. There are now about 14,000 CFM56-7B engines in operation.
CFM had initially recommended the inspections.
The European order states that after the first inspection, airlines must repeat the process every 3,000 cycles, which typically represents about two years in service.
The FAA said it will consider ordering expanded action "as we learn of additional information from this most recent incident".
According to the National Transportation Safety Board's official report, several factors were blamed for the crash including a catastrophic fan blade fracture in the number 2 tail-mounted engine.
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