Southwest plans to cancel 100 more flights Monday

Airline continues plane inspections after fuselage tear, other cracks found

April 04, 2011|By Yeganeh June Torbati, The Baltimore Sun

Southwest Airlines planned to cancel 100 more flights nationwide Monday as workers continue inspecting the company's aircraft after the fuselage skin of a plane burst open mid-flight last week and small cracks were found on other planes Sunday.

The Monday cancellations were announced in a release on the airline's website, which also urged passengers to check on their flight status at The airline said it expects to complete inspections by late Tuesday. Monday's planned cancellations add to the 300 flights canceled Sunday.

Last Friday, shortly after Southwest's Flight 812 took off from Phoenix bound for Sacramento, Calif., a portion of the plane's fuselage tore open, resulting in a loss of cabin pressure and necessitating an emergency landing. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.

Inspections of 79 of the airline's Boeing 737 planes Sunday found "small, subsurface cracks" in two of the airplanes. Southwest's fleet includes a total of 548 Boeing 737 planes, the company said. As of Sunday afternoon, 19 planes had been inspected, deemed safe and returned to service, the company said.

There was no word on how many of the cancellations would affect flights into or from Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, where Southwest is the largest carrier. According to the airport's website, most flights in and out of the airport appeared to be on time.

Monday afternoon Southwest flights to Providence, R.I., and Panama City, Fla., both leaving from BWI, were listed as canceled Monday morning.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that another Southwest Boeing jet, this time traveling from Oakland, Calif., to San Diego, was diverted after a burning electrical smell was detected in the passenger cabin. A company spokeswoman said the issue was unrelated to the problems with the Phoenix flight.

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