By Bill Hudson

By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) planned Monday to require inspections for the kind of Boeing 737-300 aircraft that ripped open during a Southwest Airlines flight last week.

Last Friday, a Southwest jet bound for Sacramento made an emergency landing when a five-foot piece of the plane suddenly flaked off mid-flight. Investigators inspected a number of 737 jets Sunday and found similar cracks.

Southwest Airlines then canceled 70 flights so that inspectors could look for possible fuselage cracks in its aging fleet of 737-300s.

At MSP Monday, 17 Southwest flights were scheduled, and six were delayed. Passengers, however, seemed more concerned with their schedules than their safety.

“I was afraid I might not get back, you know, to Minnesota,” said Jean Muehlenthaler of Brooklyn Center, as she stepped off a Southwest flight from Orlando.

Sandi Randall, of Crystal, was also glad to be home.

“The flight attendants were great,” she said. “They reassured us of things that were being done with the flight.”

However, the situation was not great for everyone. Dave Syverson’s Southwest flight was canceled by Sunday’s inspections, so he flew back from Florida on another airline, costing time and money.

“They weren’t able to get us out on Sunday, and we all have schedules that we have to maintain, so that has totally screwed everything up for us,” he said.

A majority of flights at MSP are on Delta Airlines, which has been unaffected. Out of 815 aircraft, only 83 are 737s. They are much newer models than the 737-300s under investigation.


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