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An airworthiness directive was issued by the US Federal Aviation Authority in light of the recent depressurisation incident caused by a fuselage rupture on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-300 on April 1.
The directive asks operators of certain B737-300/-400/-500 series airplanes at or above 30 000 flight cycles (take-offs and landings) to inspect certain lap joints on the fuselage.
The AD does not require any inspections on Boeing Next Generation 737 aircraft. WestJet’s fleet of 94 Boeing 737s (13 737-600s, 67 737-700s, and 14 737-800s) entirely comprises Next Generation aircraft. The lap joint design on the Next-Generation series differs from that of the older generation aircraft and is not affected by this event.