The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a new airworthiness directive for Boeing 737 series aircraft, indicating that the jets must be checked for a suspected problem with fire-suppression capabilities. Boeing has not commented on the issue, which affects 2,204 aircraft worldwide, of which 663 are jets operated by U.S. airlines.
All 737 MAX aircraft, the current standard model, and some of the previous 737 Next Generation model, are included in the FAA’s directive. The twin-engine, narrow-body 737 series is Boeing’s best-selling commercial aircraft.
According to the agency, the aircraft may experience a failure in the electronic flow control of the air conditioning packs that vent air into the cargo hold from other areas of the plane.
FAA’s directive prohibits aircraft found to be operating with this condition from transporting cargo in the jets’ cargo holds -- unless they can verify that cargo items are nonflammable and noncombustible.
In July, FAA ordered all 737s inspected for faulty cabin-altitude pressure switches. That problem, like the current issue, was unrelated to various problems that have affected the 737 MAX aircraft over the past two-and-a-half years.