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Some Southwest Flights Canceled Amid Jet Engine Inspections

Dozens of Southwest Airlines flights were canceled across the country Monday so inspections could be made to jet engines following a mid-air explosion that killed one passenger. Two departing flights from San Diego International Airport were canceled Monday, though the airline would not confirm that those specific flights were dropped for jet engine fan blade inspections.

As of 7:30 a.m., the travel-tracking website FlightAware showed that Southwest had canceled 128 flights, or 3 percent of its total, but it was unclear how many of those cancellations were specifically because of engine inspections, NBC News reported.

The inspections come after an engine on Southwest 1380 exploded over Pennsylvania on Tuesday, and debris hit the plane. Body Found at Bottom of Canyon in Linda Vista National Transportation Safety Board investigators said the fan blade was showing signs of metal fatigue — cracks from repeated use that are too small to be seen by the naked eye.

Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year-old bank executive from Albuquerque, New Mexico, died of her injuries after being partially sucked out of a window.

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines said they plan to inspect fan blades on all of their Boeing 700 plane fleet by May 17, one month after announcing the voluntary inspections. The airline said 1 percent of the about 4,000 flights scheduled each day would be affected by inspections. “We will continue our work to minimize flight disruptions by performing inspections overnight while aircraft are not flying and utilizing spare aircraft, when available,” the spokesperson said. “We anticipate minimal delays or cancellations each day this week due to the inspections.”The day after Southwest Airlines announced their voluntary inspections, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered similar inspections of 352 new-generation Boeing 737s that feature a twin-engine similar to the one that blew apart at 32,000 feet last Tuesday. The engine’s manufacturer recommended the additional inspections last year and the FAA proposed making the recommendation mandatory in August but never issued a final decision.
Source: NBC San Diego

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