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CAL completing inspections of 737-800 fuel systems

Taiwan’s China Airlines (CAL) plans to complete inspections of the fuel systems today on all the Boeing 737-800s in the CAL group fleet, following yesterday’s incident in which one of its 737-800s was destroyed by fire while on the ground at an airport in Japan.

“Yesterday we completed inspection on six aircraft and today we will do the other seven,” says a CAL spokeswoman in Taipei who claims the temporary grounding of the group’s 737-800 fleet has had no impact on its schedule.

CAL has 11 737-800s remaining in its fleet and subsidiary Mandarin Airlines has two.

She says maintenance personnel are inspecting the aircraft fuel systems and so far all have passed the checks.

Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) yesterday ordered CAL and subsidiary Mandarin Airlines to ground their 737-800s for safety checks following a fire involving a CAL 737-800 at Naha airport on southern Japan’s Okinawa island.

The fire completely gutted the aircraft and video footage appears to show the fire started in or around one of its CFM International CFM56-7B26 engines.

All 165 people on board escaped safely from the aircraft, which had parked following a flight from Taipei.

Yesterday’s incident generated enormous publicity in Japan and prompted the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) to ask Japanese carriers to inspect their 737-700/800s.

“Last evening the JCAB directed three airlines who operate 737-700/800 aircraft to do an inspection of the fuel system because of the CAL incident,” JCAB chief air carrier airworthiness engineer Koda Toshihiro says from Tokyo.

“All the affected aircraft have had the inspections completed this morning and there were no findings,” adds Koda, who says the airlines that had 737-700/800s inspected were All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines and Skymark Airlines.

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