A domestic All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight in Japan faced a tense situation as it returned to its departure airport after a crack was reported on the cockpit window during the flight.
The incident occurred on ANA flight NH1182, which was en route from the city of Sapporo in Hokkaido to Toyama on Japan’s main island, Honshu.
The Boeing 737, carrying 59 passengers and six crew members, landed back at Sapporo’s New Chitose airport at approximately 12:10 local time (3:10 GMT).
The crack, identified in the outermost layer of the four layers of the cockpit window, was discovered over Hakodate.
A spokesperson for ANA, Japan’s largest carrier, assured that the crack did not affect the flight’s control or pressurization. Despite the reassurance, the aircraft returned to the airport, where a safe landing was executed.
Aviation expert John Strickland commented on the incident, stating that the cause of the crack remains unknown.
He mentioned that such occurrences are not unprecedented, citing potential causes like bird strikes or large hailstones.
Stress fractures from wear and tear are also possible but rare, he added. To ensure complete safety, Strickland suggested that the airline might need to replace the entire window, not just the damaged layer.
Notably, this incident follows another involving a Boeing 737 model aircraft within the past two weeks.
However, ANA Flight NH1182 was not a Boeing 737 MAX 9, the model currently grounded by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) due to safety concerns. Strickland emphasized that the aircraft involved in the ANA incident was “by no means old.”
The FAA recently extended the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes indefinitely for additional safety checks.
This decision came after an Alaska Airlines plane, part of the same configuration as the grounded models, experienced a blowout that led to a cabin panel falling off during a flight, resulting in a gaping hole in the fuselage.
The FAA’s directive affects 171 planes, emphasizing the commitment to ensuring the safety of American travelers.
As investigations into the ANA incident unfold, passengers on the affected flight were accommodated on alternative flights, underscoring the airline’s dedication to passenger safety and operational integrity.