Aviation regulators are poised to order stepped-up inspections of more than 600 Boeing Co. 757 jetliners worldwide, prompted by a recent in-flight incident that left roughly a one-foot hole in the fuselage of an American Airlines plane.

Impending safety directives by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to people familiar with the matter, are expected to cover certain older models of the widely used, twin-engine planes. The FAA is drafting enhanced inspection mandates in the wake of the sudden rupture and rapid decompression that occurred Oct. 26 while the American jet was cruising at 31,000 feet en route from Miami to Boston.

Regulators in Europe and other regions are expected to follow the FAA’s lead, affecting many more planes.

Rapid decompressions are rare events, and they may stem from undetected metal fatigue that can suddenly peel back a portion of an aircraft’s aluminum skin in midair.

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