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Japan: Boeing 737-800 turns back after windshield crack

January 13, 2024

A Boeing 737-800 aircraft operated by Japan's Nippon Airways returned to the airport after pilots discovered a crack on the outermost layer of the cockpit's windshield. No one was harmed.

An ANA Boeing 737-800 NG (JA64AN) at Tokyo Haneda International Airport. (HND) The airline industry faces a severe staffing and pilot shortage as international travel rebounds after the COVID-19 pandemic. March 2, 2023.
The plane in question was a 737-800 (like this one shown at Haneda Airport in an archive image from March), rather than the newer iteration of Boeing's most-used plane type that's been temporarily grounded in the US and elsewhereImage: Taidgh Barron/ZUMAPRESS.com/picture alliance

Japan's biggest airline said Saturday that a domestic flight returned to its departure airport after pilots discovered a crack on the cockpit window of the Boeing 737-800 midair.

A spokesperson for All Nippon Airways (ANA) said there were no injuries and all 59 passengers and six crew members aboard the flight were safe.

The crack was discovered on the outermost of four layers of windows surrounding the cockpit, the spokesperson said.

"The crack was not something that affected the flight's control or pressurization," the spokesperson added.

The ANA Flight 1182 was en route to the southern Toyama airport but returned to the northern Sapporo-New Chitose airport after the discovery. 

Airlines find loose parts in door panels of 737 MAX 9 planes

Incident on the heels of Boeing 737 Max 9 scare

The ANA aircraft was not one of Boeing's 737 MAX 9 planes — rather a model from the related but much older 737-800 series — but the US aerospace giant has been under scrutiny after a fuselage panel blew off a Boeing 737 MAX 9 flight operated by Alaska Airlines last week, prompting an emergency landing.

The US aviation regulator on Friday said it was extending the grounding of the 737 MAX 9 planes indefinitely pending new safety checks.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it would increase oversight of Boeing and audit the production of the 737 Max 9s.

The 737 family of planes is Boeing's top-selling series, and second only to Airbus' rival A320 in terms of total orders for purchase for a commercial airliner. 

The FAA added that it would judge whether Boeing and its suppliers followed approved quality procedures.

The regulator said it would reconsider its long-standing practice of relying on employees at aircraft manufacturers to perform some safety analysis of planes.

Members of Congress also criticized the practice of deputizing Boeing employees as inspectors after two deadly crashes involving Boeing 737 Max 8 planes in 2018 and 2019. That model was grounded worldwide for more than a year — and longer in many jurisdictions — before once again being given full flight clearance by the FAA late in 2020.

rm/msh (Reuters, AP)