Israeli air accident investigators are focusing on overhaul work done at a Singapore MRO as the possible cause of a serious structural failure in an El Al Boeing 777-200's undercarriage last month.
The aircraft, with 279 passengers, departed Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport for Newark, New Jersey, on 23 May but turned back after the left main gear failed to retract. The aircraft's crew dumped fuel over the Mediterranean and an Israeli Defence Force Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter conducted an air-to-air inspection of the landing gear before the airliner eventually landed safely.
ATI reported on 26 May that images of the incident appeared to show a structural failure affecting the pivot around which the entire gear rotates upon retraction, and that the aircraft had undergone landing gear maintenance in Singapore.
The Israeli transport ministry's chief accident investigator, Yitzhak Raz, said on 20 June that the cause of the failure was probably due to overhaul work performed on the landing gear at the Singaporean centre.
However, the exact cause of the failure had not yet been detected and the investigation was continuing, he said. The investigation was now focused on the MRO, with experts from the FAA and NTSB co-operating in the enquiry.
Raz added that, although all the signs pointed to a problem particular to the EL AL aircraft's landing gear, other units would be checked around the world.