U.S. aviation authorities have ordered emergency inspections of newer model Boeing 737 airliners in response to last week's explosion and fire that destroyed a China Airlines plane in Japan.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday ordered all U.S. airlines to check for loose hardware in panels which are extended on the wings to increase lift for take-off and landing.

The FAA said loose hardware appeared to have punctured the fuel tank of the China Airlines jet on August 20 in Okinawa, Japan. Leaking fuel caused a fire that engulfed and destroyed the airliner. All aboard escaped safely.

There are more than 780 affected planes registered to U.S. airlines. About 1,500 are in service with other airlines around the world.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.