Qantas Airways are checking for structural cracks on their Boeing Co 737 NGs.

In response to the discovery of cracks on the “pickle fork” (a part that attaches the body, to the wing), Qantas’ engineers’ union demanded the airline ground the entire fleet, according to Fairfax.

ALAEA federal secretary Steve Purvinas said the planes should be kept “safe on the ground”.

However, Qantas said it was undertaking inspections and the cracks do not immediately compromise safety.

Qantas’ head of engineering Chris Snook said the union’s demand for grounding was “completely irresponsible.”

Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson said:

“Yes it’s a serious problem, but it’s being dealt with seriously and in the appropriate way.”