DALLAS—April 4, 2011—Southwest Airlines said today as of 3:30 p.m. Central Time that it had inspected nearly 90 percent of the 79 Boeing 737-300 aircraft it voluntarily removed from service this weekend. The airline has completed inspection of 67 aircraft and returned 64 of them to service. The remaining three aircraft did have findings of subsurface cracks and will be out of service until Boeing recommends an appropriate repair.
The FAA said late Monday it will issue an emergency directive Tuesday related to the inspections we initiated over the weekend. With our knowledge of what the FAA has planned, we believe the 79 aircraft already identified for inspection will accomplish this directive for Southwest Airlines. The reference in the FAA’s statement to the 737-500 focuses on a particular set of airplanes that does not include Southwest aircraft.
The airline expects to complete the inspections and be able to launch a full operation on Tuesday. For the latest information, Southwest encourages Customers to check www.southwest.com for updates on specific flights.