Southwest Cancels More Flights for Inspections

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NEW YORK (MainStreet)  – Southwest canceled more flights Monday as the company continued to inspect its fleet for small, subsurface cracks in the fuselage.

The inspections follow an incident Friday in which a five-foot hole appeared in the roof of a Boeing 737-300 shortly after takeoff from Phoenix. The pilot performed an emergency landing in Yuma, Ariz., and no passengers on board were injured.

Approximately 600 flights were canceled over the weekend after the initial inspection revealed two other jets had cracks in their fuselage. A Southwest spokesperson told the Associated Press that about 70 more flights would be canceled Monday.

Customers are advised to check the status of their particular flight or rebook their trip on Southwest.com before heading to the airport, as the airline said customers may experience delays of up to two hours with some flights.

"The safety of our customers and employees is our primary concern," Mike Van de Ven, Southwest's executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a written statement. "We are working closely with Boeing to conduct these proactive inspections and support the investigation. We also are working aggressively to attempt to minimize the impact to our customers' travel schedules today."

Southwest operates 548 planes, including 79 that were designated for inspection following Friday’s incident because they belonged to the same older subset of the fleet that the disabled plane belonged to.

The airline anticipates the inspections will be completed by late Tuesday. It is also cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board, which is looking into what caused the hole in the disabled aircraft.

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