In the wake of several incidents where holes opened on the fuselage of passenger jets, the Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that it will set a “retirement age” for jets to address fatigue issues.
Once regulators and plane makers agree on a maximum age for a plane type, airlines may choose to retire older planes instead of undergoing what is expected to be much more rigorous and costly maintenance schedules. The new rules will be phased in over several years, making the impact on carriers difficult to predict.
Holes in jets flown by Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. and Fort Worth-based American Airlines Inc. didn’t injure any passengers but concerned some safety watchers. Similar cracks were found also on a jet flown by Chicago-based United Airlines Inc.