Monday, April 4 (10:30am) -- Southwest Airlines said this morning that 57 aircraft have been inspected and returned to service as part of an additional inspection program on a subset of the Southwest 737-300 fleet. The program was developed in cooperation with the Boeing Company. It has cancelled approximately 70 flights from its Monday schedule of 3,400+ scheduled departures. The airline continues to inspect aircraft and will put those with no findings back into service. The inspection involves a non-destructive test (NDT) in the form of Low-Frequency Eddy current of the aircraft skin. This test is designed to detect any subsurface fatigue in the skin that is not visible to the eye. The airline confirms that the additional inspections have identified three aircraft with the subsurface cracks. Those aircraft will remain out of service until appropriate repairs can be completed.
Customers should continue to check southwest.com before heading to the airport to get specifics on their particular flight. The airline is working to minimize the impact to Customers. Southwest expects to complete the inspections late Tuesday.