Southwest cancels flights amid safety concerns

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Southwest Airlines was expected to cancel about 100 flights nationwide Monday as the company dealt with safety concerns and as of this morning, about 20 flights in and out of San Diego's Lindbergh Field were among those affected.

As of 7 a.m., 9 departing and 10 arriving Southwest flights were delayed locally. The departing flights were to Albuquerque, Denver, San Jose, Tucson, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Sacramento, while the arrivals were coming to San Diego from Las Vegas, San Jose, Oakland, Denver, Austin, Houston and Sacramento.

Southwest's troubles began Friday, when a Boeing 737-300 en route to Sacramento from Phoenix had to make an emergency landing in Yuma, Arizona. The plane had just reached cruising altitude when a three-foot section of aluminum peeled away, causing the ceiling to blow upwards. The 118 passengers and five crew members were unhurt with the exception of two minor injuries.

Over the weekend, about 600 flights nationwide were canceled as the airline took its fleet of about 80 Boeing 737-300s out of service for inspections, and cracks were subsequently found in the fuselages of three more planes.

Also, on Sunday night, a Southwest flight that took off from Oakland International Airport en route to San Diego was diverted to Los Angeles International Airport when the crew noticed an electrical smell, Southwest spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger said.

The flight had 142 people on board, including the crew, Eichinger said.

An investigation is under way to determine the cause of the smell.

Categories: KUSI