Southwest Airlines cancels some flights for engine inspections

Anna Jefferson
April 23, 2018

According to FlightAware, the Dallas-based airline has canceled almost 120 flight so far on Monday. "The cancellations are minimal (1% of todays flights)", a Southwest spokesperson told TIME.

The letter is separate from the official statement below issued by Southwest Airlines following the tragedy last Tuesday.

"CFM recommends ultrasonic inspections within the next 20 days to fan blades of CFM56-7B engines with more than 30,000 cycles since new", said CFM.

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As of 7 a.m., two flights scheduled to arrive at Lindbergh Field at 7:10 a.m. - one from Phoenix, the other from Dallas - were both canceled.

Moreover, another 2,500 engines will be impacted by the recommendation in order to inspect fan blades with 20,000 cycles by the end of August this year. The accident that involved the CFM56 jet engine from flight 1380 took place on Tuesday over Pennsylvania just 20 minutes after take-off.

A Southwest flight in August 2016 with a CFM56-7B engine made a safe emergency landing in Pensacola, Florida, after a fan blade separated and debris ripped a hole above the left wing. Each aircraft has two engines.

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One cycle is a takeoff, landing and full engine shut down.

"The accelerated inspections are being performed out of an abundance of caution and are expected to be completed over the next 30 days", Southwest said.

Southwest leaders insist the cancelations and inspections were not prompted by the directive from the FAA, but rather the company is voluntarily accelerating its engine fan blade inspection program. The airline did, however, acknowledge the FAA's directive on Twitter.

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A passenger was killed last week when an engine broke apart and shattered a window on a flight from NY to Dallas.

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