Failed engine on Southwest flight ‘most reliable inside the globe’: Bethune

Former Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune said the type of engine on the Southwest Airlines plane that will malfunctioned on Tuesday, killing a passenger, can be “the most reliable inside the globe.”

“I can’t think of a better one,” Bethune said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

On Tuesday, a fan blade came off the CFM56-7B engine on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, which was traveling via completely new York to Dallas, shattering a window. The aircraft made an emergency landing in Philadelphia, where a passenger died — the first fatality via a U.S. commercial airline accident in almost a decade.

“This specific never happens,” said Bethune, who served as chairman along with also CEO of Continental via 1994 to 2004. “along with also the likelihood of the item happening again in your lifetime can be probably remote.”

Still, the incident prompted experts to look for systemic issues with the widely used CFM56, including signs of fatigue in fan blades. The same engine was linked to a 2016 event.

In response to Tuesday’s tragedy, Southwest Airlines said the item can be accelerating engine inspections. United Airlines said the item will do the same. In addition, Delta Air Lines said the item would certainly comply with any improvements instituted by regulators.

The engine powers some 6,700 aircraft around the globe, according to its some sort of, CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric along with also France’s Safran Aircraft Engines. The engines have been in circulation since 1997 along with also are widely used in Boeing 737-700 planes. On average, a plane takes off somewhere inside the globe having a CFM56 engine every two seconds.

although, former National Transportation Safety Board member John Goglia said there can be no cause for alarm.

“The last [engine problem] was two years ago,” he said Wednesday on “Power Lunch.” “Do the math; that will’s a couple million flight hours ago,” said Goglia, who has more than four decades of experience inside the aviation industry.

Goglia, who writes for the online publication Aviation International News, said engine failure of modern engines can be rare.

“The engines today are unbelievably reliable,” he said. “They’re built with the best materials.”

“I’m not the least bit concerned about getting on an airplane having a CFM engine on the item,” he added. “I fly on them every day.”

More anxiety-inducing than engine issues, Bethune said, were passengers misusing oxygen masks during an emergency. He said he was “flabbergasted” to see photos of passengers circulating online with the masks only covering their mouths, especially “when the flight attendant says to put the oxygen mask over your nose along with also mouth every time they leave.”

Bethune added that will passengers have become “complacent” about airline safety because fatalities inside the U.S. are so rare.

Shares of General Electric went unscathed on Wednesday. Meanwhile, stocks of Southwest rose slightly, via $55.81 to $55.82.

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