Ryanair has confirmed that some 737NG planes have been taken out of service due to cracks, a problem that has grounded dozens of the jets globally.

In a statement to RTÉ News, Ryanair said Boeing is carrying out repairs on behalf of the airline after an inspection of more than 70 of its oldest aircraft in full compliance with the Airworthiness Directive.

The company said its "rate of findings is less than the industry wide 5% confirmed by Boeing recently".

But the carrier dismissed reports that some of its Boeing 737NGs have been affected by the 'pickle fork' issue. Pickle forks are components that attach the wings and the aircraft's body.

The Ryanair statement came after The Guardian reported that Ryanair has grounded at least three Boeing 737s due to cracks in the planes' pickle forks.

In its statement, Ryanair said: "This morning's report on the 'pickle fork' issue in The Guardian newspaper is rubbish."

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Ryanair said it is "confident that the tiny number of pickle fork cracks, if any, will not affect either Ryanair's fleet, its flights, or its schedules".

Last month Boeing announced that 50 of its 737NG aircraft had been grounded. It had previously reported a problem with the model's pickle fork.

In October Qantas grounded one of its planes and said it would urgently inspect 32 others but insisted passengers had nothing to fear.

Authorities in Seoul said nine Boeing 737s were grounded in South Korea in early October, including five operated by Korean Air.

When Boeing previously reported a problem with the model's pickle fork US regulators ordered immediate inspections of aircraft that had seen heavy use.

The US Federal Aviation Administration had initially ordered immediate checks of Boeing 737NG planes that had flown more than 30,000 times.

Ryanair said it has completed all the Airworthiness Directive inspections "on the small number of our fleet with over 30,000 cycles, we are now engaged in inspections of other aircraft in the fleet with under 30,000 cycles and we are not finding any further issues."

Stephen Fankhauser, an aviation expert at Australia's Swinburne University of Technology, said that the pickle forks were designed so the "structure can tolerate some level of damage or degradation".

"The inspection period is set to ensure the cracks do not continue to grow to a dangerous length and then significantly compromise the strength of the airframe," he said.