Southwest Cancels Dozens of Flights as FAA Orders Engine Inspections

by Barbara Peterson
Southwest Cancels Dozens of Flights as FAA Orders Engine Inspections

Photo: Carlos Yudica/Shutterstock.com

 

In the wake of a deadly accident aboard one of its flights last week, Southwest Airlines said it would cancel a small percentage of its daily flights over the next three weeks so that it can pull planes from service to inspect engines for signs of metal fatigue.

The airline scrubbed around 50 flights over the weekend, with an additional 91 flights canceled on Monday, according to Flight Aware.   An undetermined number of other flights were also delayed as a result. 

In a statement, Southwest said the disruptions would be minimal, given that it operates around 4,000 flights every day.  The carrier said it would “proactively” notify and rebook affected passengers, and would also try to minimize the impact by performing inspections overnight.

The action follows an order from the FAA requiring airlines that have flown the engine in question for at least 30,000 cycles, or takeoffs and landings, must accelerate the normal inspection cycle; the FAA estimated that the action will affect more than 300 planes in the U.S. that are using the older engines.  

Other than Southwest, which operates a high number of frequencies on its route system, it’s unclear how many other airlines are directly impacted.  The CFM56 engine, made by a joint venture of GE and France’s Safran SA, is used by 300 airlines worldwide on approximately 6,700 aircraft and it’s estimated that a plane equipped with one of these engines takes off somewhere in the world every two minutes. CFM International also has recommended 2,500 more engines in fleets across the world be inspected by August.

Southwest is also coping with the aftermath of its first accident-related passenger fatality in more than 40 years of operation. The accident occurred aboard a flight from New York’s LaGuardia to Dallas, when, about 20 minutes after takeoff, the left engine exploded, sending shards of metal into the fuselage.

The crippled jet made an emergency landing in Philadelphia, and one passenger, banking executive Jennifer Riordan, of Albuquerque – later died of her injuries.  Most of the other 148 people aboard were unharmed, although a half-dozen reported minor injuries. According to news reports, Southwest has begun sending passengers aboard letters that include $1,000 vouchers for future travel and $5,000 checks intended to cover “immediate financial needs.”

  0
  0
Tip of the Day
The professional travel advisor’s job is to equip the traveler with the necessary information to enable a good decision that will reflect that person’s own risk tolerance.
 
Paul Ruden
Daily Top List

Most Powerful Passports in the World

1. United Arab Emirates

2. Singapore

3. Germany

4. Denmark

5. Sweden

Source: Passport Index

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Royal Air Maroc Joins Oneworld Alliance as First Member on African Continent
Royal Air Maroc Joins Oneworld Alliance as First Member on African Continent

The alliance also added Fiji Airways as its first member in a new membership category, Oneworld Connect.

Will 2019 Be the Year NDC Bookings Gain Momentum?
Will 2019 Be the Year NDC Bookings Gain Momentum?

More than 50 airlines around the world are now certified at NDC Level 3, IATA’s highest NDC certification level, as well as the main GDSs.

LaGuardia Airport Opens First Wing in Redeveloped Terminal
LaGuardia Airport Opens First Wing in Redeveloped Terminal

The new space includes state of the art fixtures and upscale retail brands, including an outpost of the fabled FAO Schwartz toy store.

Wow Air Gets a Lifeline from Frontier Airlines
Wow Air Gets a Lifeline from Frontier Airlines

Indigo Partners, a private equity firm that has a stake in Frontier, has stepped in to help and said it has a strategic vision for Wow Air.

European Airlines Adding Transatlantic Flights for 2019 as Brexit Fears Ease
European Airlines Adding Transatlantic Flights for 2019 as Brexit Fears Ease

Low-cost carrier Norwegian and TAP Air Portugal are among the airlines planning to expand their flight networks in the U.S., starting in the spring.

Delta Air Lines Unveils First Biometric Terminal in Atlanta
Delta Air Lines Unveils First Biometric Terminal in Atlanta

Passengers at the Delta terminal in Atlanta can use facial recognition technology ‘from curb to gate.’

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Tauck