engine cover maintenance issue

NTSB: Maintenance Issue Caused Southwest Aircraft’s Engine Cover to Break Off

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, a maintenance issue caused the engine cover of a Southwest Airlines plane to break off during takeoff at Denver International Airport last Sunday. The engine cowling or cover fell off the Boeing 737-800 and then hit a wing flap. 

NTSB chairwoman Jennifer Homendy talked to reporters after a US Senate hearing on Wednesday. She said that the plane was in maintenance overnight before the engine cover broke off. She said, “It’s a maintenance issue.” Homendy also added that Southwest is already looking into the situation. 

NTSB is not going to have a formal investigation of the incident. However, the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating. Also, the airline didn’t comment on the FAA’s investigation.

Engine Cover Breaks Off

Southwest spokesperson Chris Perry said, “Southwest Flight 3695 safely returned to Denver International Airport on Sunday morning with a mechanical issue.” Perry added, “Our maintenance teams are reviewing the aircraft. We place our highest priority on ultimate safety for our customers and employees.” 

Perry said that the passengers were transferred to another plane and arrived three hours behind schedule. The airline was carrying a total of 135 passengers. No injuries were reported. 

A passenger aboard the plane told ABC News “We all felt kind of a bump, a jolt, and I looked out the window because I love window seats, and there it was.”

This isn’t the only case the FAA looked into involving Southwest Airlines. This month, the FAA said that it is also investigating a close call between a Southwest plane and an air traffic control tower in New York’s LaGuardia Airport. 

The cause of the engine cover breaking off took a bit of pressure off Boeing. Boeing is currently under scrutiny after an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9’s door plug blew off mid-flight in January. Because of criticisms from major airlines including Southwest, its top executive was even forced to step down. 

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John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme is a Travel Analyst for The Jet Set. He writes about news and events affecting the travel industry.


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