March 12, 2014 12:27 pm -

Problems that could lead to the break-up of an airplane in mid-air were brought up by safety regulators weeks before the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered checks on hundreds of U.S.-registered 777s after reports of cracking in the fuselage skin underneath a satellite antenna.

In an airworthiness directive, it said the extra checks were needed “to detect and correct cracking and corrosion in the fuselage skin, which could lead to rapid decompression and loss of structural integrity of the airplane.”

The directive, first drawn up in September, was approved in February and was due to take effect on April 9.