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Southwest Airlines to resume flights Tuesday


LOS ANGELES, Calif.–With inspections being completed on most of its Boeing 737-300 planes, Southwest Airlines plans to resume to normal flight operations tomorrow.

The airline canceled 70 flights across the country today–10 of them at Los Angeles International Airport–in response to a Friday night flight that had to be diverted in Arizona when a hole developed in the fuselage of the plane.

Southwest took 79 of its Boeing 737-300 planes out of service for inspection. By mid-afternoon, the airline had completed inspections on 67 of the aircraft, finding subsurface cracks on three of them. Those planes will remain out of service until Boeing can recommend the appropriate repairs.

Airline spokeswoman Brandy King said Southwest hopes to complete inspections on the remaining 12 planes by tonight, and resume normal flight operations tomorrow.

About 600 Southwest flights were canceled over the weekend after Friday night’s diverted flight.

The airline’s problems were compounded Sunday night when Southwest Flight 1588, which took off from Oakland International Airport bound for San Diego, was diverted to LAX when the crew noticed an electrical smell, a Southwest spokeswoman said.

The flight had 142 people on board, including the crew, and the pilot decided to make an emergency landing, Southwest spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger said. The plane was expected to remain out of service until the cause of the smell is found and repaired, Eichinger said.

That plane was also a Boeing 737-300, but Eichinger said Sunday night’s problem was “totally unrelated” to the fuselage issue.

The passengers on Sunday’s flight later boarded a newer version Boeing 737-700 for the flight from LAX to San Diego.