Aviation regulators demand emergency engine inspections following Southwest accident

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The directive comes after the left engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 suddenly blew apart during a Tuesday flight from NY to Dallas.

It is an expansion of a previous EASA directive in 2016, issued for inspections on the same engine.

In an emergency order issued on Friday, FAA instructed airlines to carry out ultrasonic inspections on fan blades of engines with more than 30,000 cycles within the next 20 days.

A first inspection of the Boeing 737's damaged engine showed that an engine fan blade was missing, apparently broken due to metal fatigue, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. A woman was killed in the incident, marking the first USA passenger airline fatality in almost ten years.

The FAA said, "The unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same design".

The Boeing 737 used on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 had a fault in one of its CFM56-7B engines.

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It is estimated that the directive will affect 352 engines in the United States and 681 engines worldwide.

The ministry says the airlines should complete the checks by the end of August.

The airline added that its officials are in direct contact with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration to support an immediate, coordinated response to this accident.

To facilitate the recommended inspections, CFM said it was providing about 500 technicians to accelerate the process.

Authorities say nearly 700 Boeing 737 engines will need to be checked worldwide over the next 20 days.

Approximately 14,000 CFM56-7B engines are in operation.