Does the Boeing 737 have dangerous structural problems?

A new investigation questions the safety of the popular Boeing 737 airplane. On this morning’s Takeaway we examined other incidents involving Boeing 737s:

  • Southwest Airlines flight 812 was on its way from Phoenix to Sacramento on April 1, 2011 when a hole tore into the fuselage. It made an emergency landing in Yuma.
  • After landing, a 59 inch hole was found in the roof of the cabin where the skin of the airplane had peeled away.
  • That specific plane had been delivered in 1996, a version of the 737 known as the Classics.
  • The 737 Classics were supposed to have a safe service life of 60,000 flights.  The Southwest 737 of flight 812 had accumulated only 39,781 cycles.  
  • Over the years, the Boeing 737 has been the world’s most popular airliner for intercity routes. One takes off or lands every 2.5 seconds.
  • In 1981, a 737 flown by a Taiwanese airline suffered a sudden decompression flying at 22,000 feet and plunged to earth, killing all 104 passengers and six crew.
  • In 1989 an Aloha Airlines 737 flying at 24,000 feet over Maui, Hawaii, suddenly lost an 8-by-12-foot section of the cabin roof, exposing the passengers to the sky. A flight attendant was sucked out and fell to her death, and there were seven serious injuries. Remarkably, the pilots got the airplane down.
  • A similar incident happened to another Southwest plane in July 2009.
  • In December 2009 in Kingston, Jamaica an American Airlines 737-800 split open after running off the runway during a rainstorm. All 154 passengers survived, some with injuries.
  • In August 2010 on San Andrés Island, Colombia, an Aires Airlines 737-700 rips apart after landing in an electrical storm. One passenger dies, 30 injured.
  • In July 2011 in Georgetown, Guyana: A Caribbean Airlines 737-800 ruptures after running off the runway in a rainstorm; 163 passengers survive, some injured.
  • The 737 is the bestselling airliner in history: almost 10,000 have been sold, and the demand is so great that Boeing aims to deliver 42 a month by 2014.