About half of the outgoing Southwest Airlines flights from Los Angeles International Airport have been cancelled or delayed Saturday, as the airline takes part of its fleet out of service after a plane blew its top and made an emergency landing.
Southwest is grounding 81 of its fleet of Boeing 737 jets. The affected planes are the same version of 737s as the plane that made a successful emergency landing at Yuma, Arizona, after part of its ceiling blew out over the Arizona desert.
At midmorning Saturday at Los Angeles International Airport, six flights to Oakland, Phoenix or San Jose were listed as cancelled. Another three were reported delayed, and 12 were listed as on time.
Similar delays were on the departure boards at John Wayne/Orange County, Ontario and Bob Hope/Burbank airport.
Southwest said its engineers, as well as experts from plane manufacturer Boeing, will inspect the plane and its sister aircraft to see why the pressurized cabin blew out on a flight from Phoenix to Sacramento Friday.
The plane had just reached cruising altitude when a three-foot-section of aluminum peeled away, causing the ceiling to blow upwards. The pilot landed at Yuma International Airport, which is also a Marine Corps air base.
The 118 passengers and 5 crewmembers were unhurt with the exception of two minor injuries. But passengers reported being afraid of imminent death as the pilot made an emergency decent and landing at Yuma.