Australian airline Qantas has reportedly grounded three of its Boeing 737 NG planes after finding structural cracks.

The decision to temporarily halt the aircraft from flying was announced after cracks were discovered on the ‘pickle fork’ section.

Qantas was quoted by BBC as saying: “Even when a crack is present, it does not immediately compromise the safety of the aircraft.

“We would never operate an aircraft unless it was completely safe to do so.”

According to global aviation regulations, 737s that have flown between 22,6000 and 30,000 times are required to undergo checking within seven months.

Qantas domestic head Andrew David was quoted by The Guardian as saying: “We are focused, right now, on those in scope, which is the 33 that have done between 22,600 cycles and 30,000 cycles.

“Any between 22,600 and 30,000 cycles needed to be checked within seven months…and we’ve done them within seven days, as soon as we found the first one.”

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The carrier expects the three aircraft to resume operations by the end of this year.

In October 2018 and earlier this year, two Boeing 737 MAX-8 crashed after taking off from Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Following this, several airlines have continued grounding of the aircraft.