Southwest Airlines cancelled 40 of its 4,000 scheduled flights Sunday due to engine inspections following last week’s deadly incident.
The airline is currently performing an accelerated inspection of the fan blades on all CFM56 engines, manufactured by CFM International, which is expected to be completed over the next 30 days. The inspection is being implemented “out of an abundance of caution” after an engine with “metal fatigue” exploded mid-flight Tuesday, sending shrapnel through the aircraft window, killing one passenger and injuring seven others.
Southwest said in a statement it has “minimized flight disruptions” over the last week “through actions such as proactive aircraft routings to cover open trips, performing inspections overnight, and utilizing spare aircraft, when available.” As far as Sunday’s 40 cancelled flights, the airline said this was only around one percent of the scheduled flights for the day.
On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered ultrasound inspections of all engines like the one that exploded. This order affects 352 engines on new-generation Boeing 737s, a twin-engine jet used by airlines around the world, Fox Business reports.
Southwest said that the flight cancellations are not a result of the FAA order, but rather due to their voluntary engine inspection program.