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Southwest grounds 128 airplanes that missed a safety check

Southwest Airlines grounded 128 Boeing 737-700s on Tuesday that had missed a safety inspection. (Star-Telegram/Ron T. Ennis)
Southwest Airlines grounded 128 Boeing 737-700s on Tuesday that had missed a safety inspection. (Star-Telegram/Ron T. Ennis) Star-Telegram

Southwest Airlines said it grounded 128 Boeing 737-700s in its fleet on Tuesday after it discovered the aircraft had missed a required maintenance check.

The Dallas-based carrier said it voluntarily removed the aircraft from service to perform a maintenance check on the standby hydraulic system.

About 80 flights were canceled on Tuesday as a result of the maintenance issue and also canceled another 15 flights on Wednesday as it repositioned aircraft.

“The safety of our customers and employees remains our highest priority and we are working quickly to resolve the situation,” the airline said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the airline notified the agency about the missed inspections on late Tuesday. The agency approved a plan that allows Southwest to operate the planes for up to five days as the checks are performed, the FAA said on Wednesday morning.

As of Dec. 31, the airline has 447 Boeing 737-700s in its fleet.

Here is the full statement from Southwest:

“Southwest Airlines discovered an overdue maintenance check required to be performed on the standby hydraulic system, which serves as a back-up to the primary hydraulic systems. As a result of this discovery, 128 -700 aircraft were identified as having overflown a required check. Once identified, 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. The FAA approved a proposal that would allow Southwest to continue operating the aircraft for a maximum of five days as the checks are completed. Approximately 80 cancellations occurred today as a result of the events and the airline is anticipating a very minimal impact to their operations tomorrow. The Safety of our Customers and Employees remains our highest priority and we are working quickly to resolve the situation.”

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