The terrible incident that happened this past Tuesday, April 17th approximately 20 minutes after take off, is all anyone can talk about. Hearing of a similar event on Southwest in 2016 only exasperated the concerns of frequent flyers, and not just on Southwest Airlines, but any of those who use the CFM56-7B engine. That list now includes American, Delta, and United on some 8,000 Boeing 737 planes worldwide. These airlines are all jumping on inspections now, but it beckons the question, why do we have to wait until someone dies?
The FAA is now issuing an airworthiness directive that will require inspections. In reading articles on the 2016 incident where the plane safely made an emergency landing in Pensacola on its short flight from New Orleans to Orlando, I can find nothing about increased engine inspection requirements. The press release on this accident showed the same findings of an issue with a worn fan blade. Yet no cross industry standards or actions were put into place.
As someone who puts their life in the hands of these airlines every week, this type of story is just sickening. I want to blame Southwest Airlines, I refuse to fly them anyway. I want to blame the manufacturer. I can’t even think of all the people the family must be blaming.
As we all reflect on the “what could happen” scenarios on our next trip, I hope all those airline engineers, manufacturers, maintenance crew, corporate executives, and staff take action that would implement further safety measures that would ensure the safety of their own families.
Jennifer Riordan was a 43-year-old mother-of-two and executive for Wells Fargo bank in Albuquerque, New Mexico.