Southwest grounds 80 flights for maintenance checks

Southwest grounds 80 flights for maintenance checks

US low-fares carrier Southwest Airlines was forced to briefly ground some flights on Tuesday.

The cancellations came after it was revealed the airline neglected to carry out safety inspections on about one fifth of its aircraft, the BBC reported.

The US Federal Aviation Administration later ruled that the airline could fly the uninspected planes for a maximum of five days as safety checks take place.

"The airline is working quickly to resolve the situation,” Southwest said.

“On Tuesday, Southwest Airlines discovered a required maintenance check on the standby hydraulic system, which serves as a back-up to the primary hydraulic systems, was overdue on 128 Boeing 737-700 aircraft,” the airline said.

“Southwest immediately and voluntarily removed the affected aircraft from service, initiated maintenance checks, disclosed the matter to the FAA, and developed an action plan to complete all overdue checks.

“Late Tuesday evening, the FAA granted Southwest approval to continue operating the aircraft for a maximum of five days as the checks are completed.

“Approximately 80 cancellations occurred Tuesday as Southwest awaited FAA's response.”

The airline said it anticipating “very minimal” impact to its operations yesterday as the remaining checks ware completed.

“The safety of customers and employees is Southwest's highest priority and the airline is working quickly to resolve the situation,” the carrier added.

Southwest has about 665 Boeing 737s in its fleet.

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