A single passenger was killed on the plane when a fan blade broke and received part of the engine cover that hit the side of the jet. It broke one of the windows and the cabin quickly became pressureless. The crew was able to land the plane, but the woman sitting next to that window was killed.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigated the accident, on Tuesday recommended that Boeing redesign parts of the aircraft's engine cover to prevent it from flying into the aircraft should a fan blade be released on a future flight. It said that all Boeing 737 Next Generation series should be retrofitted with what solution Boeing comes up with.
Boeing has delivered about 6,700 of the 737 NG jets to airlines around the world, but it has stopped taking new orders for them when it changed to 737 Max. It has fewer than 1
00 NG aircraft yet to build and deliver.
Boeing 737 NG aircraft have not been affected by the grounding of the 737 Max in the wake of two fatal accidents. But 737 NG had other security issues, including the discovery of cracks in some of the older aircraft on a section used to hold the wings in place. These cracks have founded a handful of the 737 NGs.
The final decision on a possible solution is up to the Federal Aviation Administration, not the NTSB, which is tasked with investigating the causes of accidents. But Boeing ( BA ) said that it was already working on improvements to the engine design to meet NTSB's recommendations. And it said until the fix is in place inspections of the fan blades will allow the planes to operate safely.
"Our common goal is to prevent similar events from happening in the future," it states.
NTSB did not blame Boeing ( BA or Southwest ( LUV ) and said the crack in the fan blade was not detectable and the risk of the engine casing breaking loose was unknown prior to this incident.
But Boeing's shares fell as much as 2% immediately after the report was released, though it later received much of that loss.
– CNN's Rene Marsh contributed to this report