FAA issues 'airworthiness directive,' causing inspections of Boeing 737 NG planes

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a new directive Thursday that could further impact the busy holiday travel season.

The FAA is ordering that certain 737 jets be inspected for cracks in the "wing supports."

These jets are different than the 737 Max jets that have been grounded since March.

If not addressed, the agency says the cracking could cause pilots to lose control of the plane.

The FAA issued the "airworthiness directive" after Boeing found cracking on a small number of its planes and reported them to the FAA.

Some planes will have to be inspected within the next seven days.

“Primarily, it’s issued in this case to make sure that there are not structural issues within the 737,” pilot and aviation attorney Ron McCallum said.

The order specifically targets the popular version of the 737 called the “Next Generation,” or NG, with more than 30,000 flight cycles logged.

Nearly 2,000 NGs are registered in the U.S., and 165 of those meet that threshold requiring an inspection within seven days.

“It's going to have an impact in service,” McCallum added. “There's no way it won't.”

The directive comes after older Boeing 737 NG passenger jets that were being converted into cargo planes were found to have multiple cracks in the wing supports called, "pickle forks."

“What it does is, it comes through the strongest part of the fuselage, into the wing structure, and into a spar. And where they meet is one of the strongest parts of the aircraft,” McCallum explained.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, which only flies 737s, has about 700 in its fleet.

A spokeswoman said the airline plans to perform overnight inspections on the impacted planes, and does not anticipate any disruption in service.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines has more than 300 737 NG aircrafts in its fleet.

The airline said that none of the planes currently have the number of flight cycles to trigger the FAA's mandatory inspection.

Passengers landing at Dallas Love Field digested this new information Thursday.

“Given the safety record that I'm aware of, pretty confident that they're going to fix it,” Nick Singer said.

[REPORTER: “Do you trust that these regulators are keeping tabs on what needs to happen?”] “I do. Just like I do when I rent a vehicle that it been maintained. But truly, my trust is in the lord and I pray every time I board a plane,” Cindy Ward added.

As of right now, no flights in North Texas have been canceled due to this new FAA directive.

However, that could change as inspections get underway.