Thursday, April 28, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 05:  The tail of a Sou...
Southwest, AirTran merger approved by DOJ

Dayton Business Journal - by DBJ Staff  Date: Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 8:52pm EDT

Southwest Airlines' merger with AirTran has been given approval by the Department of Justice, clearing antitrust and other regulatory hurdles.

Southwest Airlines Co. said the U.S. Department of Justice has given its approval of the planned merger with AirTran Holdings.

The merger with AirTran (NYSE: AAI) will bring Southwest (NYSE: LUV) to the Dayton International Airport, long a goal of Dayton-area officials.

"AirTran stockholders approved the acquisition of AirTran by Southwest Airlines on March 23, 2011, which, when combined with DOJ approval and other regulatory clearances, constitutes one of the final steps toward closing the transaction," Southwest said in a press release Wednesday.
The airline previously said it plans to close the merger on May 2.

"Next steps also include beginning work on securing a Single Operating Certificate (SOC) from the Federal Aviation Administration, which is currently projected for completion in the first quarter of 2012," according to Southwest.

Southwest also said the merger will benefit consumers through the expansion of low-fare competition in airline markets across the United States, the creation of broader network offerings with a wider range of consumer choices, improved quality and service, and the overall creation of a platform for new growth.
AirTran is the second-busiest carrier flying out of Dayton. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) is the busiest. Other top carriers at the airport include US Airways Group; AMR Corp.’s American Airlines unit; and United Contintnental.
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Air France Airbus A380 F-HPJA on ramp at Roiss...
Air France A380 Superjumbo Clips Commuter Jet at Kennedy Airport

By Andrea Rothman and Mary Schlangenstein - Apr 12, 2011 7:09 AM MT

An Air France Airbus A380 lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

An Airbus SAS A380 superjumbo operated by Air France hit a Delta Air Lines commuter jet while taxiing at New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport, spinning the smaller plane and its occupants through 90 degrees.

The A380’s wing, measuring 262 feet (80 meters) from tip to tip, clipped the tail of the Bombardier Inc. (BBD/B) CRJ700 from Delta’s Comair unit. The impact rocked the 106-foot-long CRJ and whipped it round before the A380 moved clear, video footage shows.

While none of the 520 people on the superjumbo or the 66 on the Bombardier plane were hurt in last night’s incident, the A380 was unable to fly to Paris and has been immobilized, Air France spokeswoman Brigitte Barrand said in a phone interview. Passengers will be rerouted with partner airlines, she said.

“It would have been a very interesting ride for the passengers on the CRJ,” said Paul Hayes, director of safety at London-based aviation consultancy Ascend. Though accidents while taxiing cause significant damage “once or twice a year,” the size of the A380 produced a more “spectacular” outcome, he said.

Passengers departed the Bombardier plane using mobile stairs, the standard procedure for Comair at JFK, said Anthony Black, a Delta spokesman. The CRJ700 was taxiing to a gate under its own power when the incident occurred, having just landed at 8 p.m. local time following a flight from Boston, he said.

‘Structural Repair’

“There is damage to the tail,” Black said of the 65-seat Bombardier jet. “In terms of classifying that, I can’t. Obviously it’s going to need some structural repair.”

The CRJ700, operating as flight 6293, probably also damaged its undercarriage as it was spun around, Ascend’s Hayes said, while the end portion of the wing on the superjumbo, the world’s largest passenger plane, may have to be removed and replaced.

The A380, which was operating Air France flight AF7 and taxiing toward the runway at the time of the collision, is one of four so far delivered to the carrier by Airbus. Barrand said it isn’t immediately clear how long it will take to repair the jetliner, which is always deployed on the New York route.

Officials from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration were “immediately” on scene and are investigating with the National Transportation Safety Board, aided by Delta, Comair and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which runs JFK, Black said, adding that he didn’t know whether the planes were under ground-control guidance when the accident happened.

A330 Clash

Air France suffered an earlier incident involving an A380 on Oct. 30, when one of its planes was brushed by the wing of an Airbus A330 while parked at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, putting the bigger plane out of action for about two weeks.

Barrand said it’s too early to speculate on what led to the collision, while Comair didn’t comment on the cause.

“Crew are meant to be aware of where their wingtips are,” Ascend’s Hayes said. “But then again if you’re taxiing cleared for takeoff with your nose gear on the center line of the taxiway you should expect there’d be clearance.”

Air France-KLM (AF) Group also uses A380s to serve Johannesburg and Tokyo, and will take delivery of two more of the planes by the end of May for services to Montreal and San Francisco.

The European company is a partner of Atlanta-based Delta in the SkyTeam airline alliance. Toulouse, France-based Airbus is as unit of European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrea Rothman in Paris at; Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at; Ed Dufner at
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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Southwest Airlines 737-700 N791SW as delivered...
Southwest’s Troubles Aren’t Over

Apr. 4 2011 - 5:09 pm


After Friday’s much-publicized mid-flight fuselage hole and depressurization scare, Southwest Airlines is still struggling with maintenance issues, as well as a public relations nightmare. As you’ll recall, a five-foot hole was ripped in the ceiling of a Southwest Boeing 737 flying from Phoenix to Sacramento, forcing an unscheduled landing at a Marines air base in Arizona.

Though no one was seriously hurt, Southwest grounded 300 flights over the weekend to look for stress cracks similar to the one that caused Friday’s hole, and 70 more flights on Monday. Adding to the company’s woes, the New York Times reported that after a process of inspecting some of the fleet’s 737 aircraft, a third plane was found to have the same type of stress fractures. This follows a 2008 FAA fine of $10.2 million for Southwest’s failure to follow inspection guidelines, even allowing six planes to fly that the company knew had stress cracks.

Salon’s Patrick Smith, a pilot himself and author of the terrific airplane-related column “Ask the Pilot,” is also on the case, pointing out the ways in which journalists can get these types of stories wrong, while unfairly playing up the dangers of such incidents.

Smith says that while “a hole in the airplane is always serious,” Friday’s incident wasn’t particularly dangerous. He admits that mid-flight incidents such as this one can lead to explosive decompression, or in rare instances, “a small crack or fracture can propagate to the point of large-scale structural fracture.” But in this case decompression wasn’t explosive, but gradual, and the pilots were able to guide the plane down to the 10,000-foot ceiling called for in decompression episodes, and the plane was able to make a safe emergency landing at the Arizona base.

That’s not to say that maintenance failures can’t lead to catastrophic incidents, or that the FAA shouldn’t look into this particular fuselage tearing, just that the media hype over “harrowing” landings or explosions that “rocked the cabin” may have been overblown. Smith’s cool-headed assessments of in-flight scares and emergencies are always a calming curative to worst-case scenario fantasies – something to remember the next time your flight is punctuated by a violent series of turbulence-related bumps and drops.

Smith himself has survived two decompression incidents in one day, and while these types of failures can be frightening, only two plane crashes have been definitely attributed to fuselage stress fractures. Which should provide some measure of comfort if you’re ever traveling over the continental U.S., and a large hole is suddenly torn from the ceiling – insofar as anything can provide comfort in that situation.
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Sunday, April 03, 2011

700 Pale Blue
NTSB: Cracks found in 3 grounded Southwest planes

NTSB: Cracks similar to those found in damaged Southwest Airlines jet found in 3 other planes

Bob Christie, Associated Press, On Sunday April 3, 2011, 11:57 pm

YUMA, Ariz. (AP) -- Inspectors have found small, subsurface cracks in three more Southwest Airlines planes that are similar to those suspected of causing a jetliner to lose pressure and make a harrowing emergency landing in Arizona, a federal investigator said Sunday.

Southwest said in statement that two of its Boeing 737-700s had cracks and will be evaluated and repaired before they are returned to service. A National Transportation Safety Board member told The Associated Press later Sunday that a third plane had been found with cracks developing.

The cracks found in the three planes developed in two lines of riveted joints that run the length of the aircraft.

Nineteen other Boeing 737-300 planes inspected using a special test developed by the manufacturer showed no problems and will be returned to service. Checks on nearly 60 other jets are expected to be completed by late Tuesday, the airline said.
That means flight cancelations will likely continue until the planes are back in the air. About 600 flights in all were canceled over the weekend.

NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said Boeing was developing a "service bulletin" for all 737-300 models with comparable flight cycle time as the Arizona jet, which was 15 years old and had about 39,000 takeoff and landing cycles.

There are 931 such models in service worldwide, 288 of which in the U.S. fleet.

Boeing's bulletin would strongly suggest extensive checks of two lines of "lap joints" that run the length of the fuselage. The NTSB has not mandated the checks, but Sumwalt said the FAA will likely make them mandatory.

Friday's flight carrying 118 people rapidly lost cabin pressure after the plane's fuselage ruptured -- causing a 5-foot-long tear -- just after takeoff from Phoenix.
Passengers recalled tense minutes after the hole ruptured overhead with a blast and they fumbled frantically for oxygen masks. Pilots made a controlled descent from 34,400 feet into a southwestern Arizona military base. No one was seriously injured.

The tear along a riveted "lap joint" near the roof of the Boeing 737 above the midsection shows evidence of extensive cracking that hadn't been discovered during routine maintenance before the flight -- and probably wouldn't have been unless mechanics specifically looked for it -- officials said.
"What we saw with Flight 812 was a new and unknown issue," Mike Van de Ven, Southwest executive vice president and chief operating officer, said. "Prior to the event regarding Flight 812, we were in compliance with the FAA-mandated and Boeing-recommended structural inspection requirements for that aircraft."

Sumwalt said that the rip was a foot wide, and that it started along a joint where two sections of the plane's skin are riveted together. An examination showed extensive pre-existing damage along the entire tear.

The riveted joints that run the length of the plane were previously not believed to be a fatigue problem and not normally subjected to extensive checks, Sumwalt said.

"Up to this point only visual inspections were required for 737s of this type because testing and analysis did not indicate that more extensive testing was necessary," Sumwalt said.

That will likely change after Friday's incident, he said.

The FAA declined to say if it was requiring other operators to check their aircraft for similar flaws.

The NTSB also could issue urgent recommendations for inspections on other 737s if investigators decide a problem has been overlooked. The agency's investigation has not determined that the cracks caused the rupture, but it is focused on that area.

Federal records show cracks were found and repaired a year ago in the frame of the same Southwest plane.

A March 2010 inspection found 10 instances of cracking in the aircraft frame, which is part of the fuselage, and another 11 instances of cracked stringer clips, which help hold the plane's skin on, according to an AP review of FAA records of maintenance problems for the Arizona plane.

The records show the cracks were either repaired or the damaged parts replaced. Cracking accounted for a majority of the 28 problem reports filed as a result of that inspection.

It's common for fuselage cracks to be found during inspections of aging planes, especially during scheduled heavy-maintenance checks in which planes are taken apart so that inspectors can see into areas not normally visible.

The Arizona jetliner had gone through about 39,000 cycles of pressurizing, generally a count of takeoffs and landings. Cracks can develop from the constant cycle of pressurizing for flight, then releasing the pressure.

Southwest officials said it had undergone all inspections required by the FAA. They said the plane was given a routine inspection Tuesday and underwent its last so-called heavy check, a more costly and extensive overhaul, in March 2010.

The decompression happened about 18 1/2 minutes after takeoff from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport after the pilots reached their cruising altitude. They immediately donned their oxygen masks, declared an emergency and briefly considered returning to Phoenix before the cabin crew told them of the extent of the damage, Sumwalt said.

"They discussed landing in Phoenix, but quickly upon getting the assessment decided to divert to Yuma because it was the closest suitable airport," he said.

The plane's voice and data recorders were being examined in Washington, and Sumwalt said they worked well and showed no sign of a problem before the incident.

Southwest operates about 170 of the 737-300s in its fleet of 548 planes, but it replaced the aluminum skin on many of the 300s in recent years, a spokeswoman said. The planes that were grounded over the weekend have not had their skin replaced.

Southwest said "based on this incident and the additional findings, we expect further action from Boeing and the FAA for operators of the 737-300 fleet worldwide." Boeing did not immediately return messages left Sunday.

US Airways' website shows that the Arizona-based airline also operates 737-300s, but it did not immediately respond to a call from the AP.

In July 2009, a football-sized hole opened up in-flight in the fuselage of another of Southwest's Boeing 737s, depressurizing the cabin. Sumwalt said the two incidents appeared to be unrelated.

Associated Press writers David Koenig contributed from Dallas; Joan Lowy from Washington, D.C.; and Terry Tang, Walter Berry, Mark Evans and Bob Seavey from Phoenix.
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140 px
Inspectors found "widespread cracking" in Southwest plane

By Colleen Jenkins Colleen Jenkins – 1 hr 9 mins ago

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla (Reuters) – National safety inspectors have found evidence of "widespread cracking" and fatigue on the fuselage of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 that made an emergency landing in Arizona with a hole in the cabin, a government official said on Sunday.

"Was the aircraft well maintained and should it have been maintained better? That is exactly why we are here, to look at why this problem occurred," National Transportation Safety Board Member Robert Sumwalt said at a press conference broadcast from Yuma, Arizona via internet streaming.

As a result of the incident, Southwest has grounded part of its fleet for inspections. The airline canceled 300 flights on Saturday and said it expects to cancel another 300 flights on Sunday as the investigation continues into what caused the hole to develop during Southwest Flight 812 on Friday.

The flight from Phoenix to Sacramento landed at a military base in Yuma, Arizona, after the hole appeared suddenly at about mid cabin.

The cancellations are likely to continue for the next few days, said Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger.

Airline mechanics soon will saw out the portion of the plane skin that fractured, and it will be shipped overnight to Washington for further inspection, Sumwalt said.
The piece is expected to be about eight to nine feet long and two feet wide and will weigh about three to four pounds.

"We did find evidence of widespread cracking across this entire fracture surface," said Sumwalt.

But determining exactly where the cracks are is "a very involved process," he said.

Recorders from Flight 812 arrived at NTSB's headquarters on Saturday night.

They indicated that the decompression occurred approximately 18 1/2 minutes after takeoff, Sumwalt said. The flight crew donned oxygen masks and declared an emergency.
The plane descended from its cruising altitude of 36,000 feet to 11,000 feet in approximately 4 1/2 minutes, Sumwalt said.

An inspection of the oxygen generators that supply oxygen to passengers indicated that the generators all had been activated, Sumwalt said.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Greg McCune)
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Saturday, April 02, 2011

Southwest Airlines(Old Color) at LAX
Southwest grounds about 80 planes after mishap

By TERRY TANG and WALTER BERRY, Associated Press Terry Tang And Walter Berry, Associated Press – 1 hr 12 mins ago

PHOENIX – Flight attendants had just begun to take drink orders when the explosion rocked the cabin.

Aboard Southwest Flight 812, Shawna Malvini Redden covered her ears, then felt a brisk wind rush by. Oxygen masks fell, the cabin lost pressure, and Redden, now suddenly lightheaded, fumbled to maneuver the mask in place.

Then she prayed. And, instinctively, reached out to the stranger seated next to her in Row 8 as the pilot of the damaged aircraft began a rapid descent from about 34,400 feet in the sky.

"I don't know this dude, but I was like, 'I'm going to just hold your hand,'" Redden, a 28-year-old doctoral student at Arizona State University, recalled Saturday, a day after her Phoenix-to-Sacramento flight was forced into an emergency landing at a military base in Yuma, Ariz., with a hole a few feet long in the roof of the passenger cabin.

No serious injuries were reported among the 118 people aboard, according to Southwest officials.

What caused part of the fuselage to rupture on the 15-year-old Boeing 737-300 was a mystery, and investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived Saturday in Yuma to begin an inquiry.

NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said investigators were going to cut a piece out of the fuselage, which would be studied for fracture patterns. He said they would also examine the plane's black box and flight recorders, which arrived Saturday at NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Southwest, meanwhile, grounded about 80 similar planes so that they could be inspected, and said that as a result some 300 flights were being canceled Saturday. Airline spokeswoman Linda Rutherford said it was too soon to estimate the cost of grounding a portion of its fleet.
Southwest operates about 170 of the 737-300s in its fleet of about 540 planes, but it replaced the aluminum skin on many of the 300s in recent years, Rutherford said. The planes that were grounded Saturday have not had their skin replaced, she said.

"Obviously we're dealing with a skin issue, and we believe that these 80 airplanes are covered by a set of (federal safety rules) that make them candidates to do this additional inspection that Boeing is devising for us," Rutherford said.

Julie O'Donnell, an aviation safety spokeswoman for Seattle-based Boeing Commercial Airplanes, confirmed "a hole in the fuselage and a depressurization event" in the latest incident but declined to speculate on what caused it.

A total of 288 Boeing 737-300s currently operate in the U.S. fleet, and 931 operate worldwide, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. "The FAA is working closely with the NTSB, Southwest Airlines and Boeing to determine what actions may be necessary," the FAA said Saturday.

Southwest officials said the Arizona plane had undergone all inspections required by the FAA. They said the plane was given a routine inspection Tuesday and underwent its last so-called heavy check, a more costly and extensive overhaul, in March 2010.

An Associated Press review of FAA records of maintenance problems for the plane show that in March 2010 at least eight instances were found of cracking in the aircraft frame, which is part of the fuselage. Those cracks were repaired, the records indicated.

It's not uncommon for fuselage cracks to be found during inspections of planes that age, especially during scheduled heavy maintenance checks in which they are taken apart so that inspectors can see into areas not normally visible.

The 737-300 is the oldest plane in Southwest's fleet, and the Dallas-based company is retiring 300s as it takes deliveries of new models. But the process of replacing all the 300s could take years.

Seated one row from the mid-cabin rupture, Don Nelson said it took about four noisy minutes for the plane to dip to less than 10,000 feet. "You could tell there was an oxygen deficiency," he said.

"People were dropping," said Christine Ziegler, a 44-year-old project manager from Sacramento who watched as a flight attendant and a passenger nearby fainted. Nelson and Ziegler spoke Friday after a substitute flight took them on to Sacramento.

Brenda Reese described the hole as "at the top of the plane, right up above where you store your luggage."

At an altitude above 34,000 feet, the Southwest pilots would have had only 10 to 20 seconds of "useful consciousness" to get their oxygen masks on or pass out, said John Gadzinski, an airline pilot and aviation safety consultant.

"The higher you are the less useful consciousness time you have," said Gadzinski, president of Four Winds Consulting in Virginia Beach, Va. "It's a credit to the pilots that they responded so quickly."

A loss of cabin pressure just after takeoff knocked out the pilots of a Helios Airways Boeing 737 in August 2005. The plane flew into a hillside north of Athens in Greece, killing all 121 people aboard. In that case, an investigation found the pilots had failed to heed a warning that the pressurization system wasn't working correctly.

In this case, the hole and subsequent depressurization wouldn't have affected the pilots' ability to control the plane as long as they had their oxygen masks on, Gadzinski said.

"The fact that you have a breach hole doesn't affect the aerodynamics of the plane. The plane still flies exactly the same," he said.

A similar incident happened in July 2009 when a football-sized hole opened up in-flight in the fuselage of another of Southwest's Boeing 737s, depressurizing the cabin. The plane made an emergency landing in Charleston, W.Va. It was later determined that the hole was caused by metal fatigue.

In response to that incident, Southwest changed its maintenance plan to include additional inspections, which FAA reviewed and accepted, said John Goglia, a former NTSB member and an expert on airline maintenance. The details of the plan are considered proprietary and aren't made public, he said.

The latest incident "certainly makes me think there is something wrong with the maintenance system at Southwest, and it makes me think there is something wrong with the (FAA) principal maintenance inspector down there that after that big event they weren't watching this more closely," Goglia said.

There was "never any danger that the plane would fall out of the sky," Goglia said. "However, anybody on that airplane with any sort of respiratory problems certainly was at risk."

Four months before that emergency landing, Southwest had agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle charges that it operated planes that had missed required safety inspections for cracks in the fuselage. The airline inspected nearly 200 of its planes back then, found no cracks and put them back in the sky.

In 1988, cracks caused part of the roof of an Aloha Airlines Boeing 737 to peel open while the jet flew from Hilo to Honolulu. A flight attendant was sucked out of the plane and plunged to her death, and dozens of passengers were injured.

After that incident, Boeing made changes to its designs "to prevent the airplane from ever coming apart in that way again, by using different materials and manufacturing methods," Goglia said.

Three years ago, an exploding oxygen cylinder ripped a hole the fuselage of a Qantas Boeing 747-438 carrying 365 people. The plane descended thousands of feet with the loss of cabin pressure and made a successful emergency landing.

As for Friday's flight, there was obvious relief when it touched down safely. When the pilot emerged after the landing, passengers "clapped and cheered," Redden said.

"If overhead bins weren't in the way, I'm pretty sure we would've given him a standing ovation," she said. 

Associated Press writers Lien Hoang, Don Thompson and Adam Weintraub contributed to this report from Sacramento, Calif.; David Koenig contributed from Dallas; Joan Lowy from Washington, D.C.; and Mark Evans and Robert Seavey from Phoenix.
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Landing, Las Vegas.
Southwest Grounds 79 Boeing 737s, Cancels 300 Flights After Fuselage Hole

By Mary Schlangenstein and Dan Hart - Apr 2, 2011 10:49 AM MT

Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV), the world’s biggest operator of Boeing Co. (BA) 737 jets, grounded 79 aircraft after a hole developed in a plane during flight, forcing an emergency landing. About 300 flights were canceled today.

Flight 812, with 118 passengers and five crew, was en route to Sacramento from Phoenix yesterday when a loss of cabin pressure caused oxygen masks to deploy and prompted a landing in Yuma, Arizona, Southwest said in a statement today.

“The carrier has decided to keep a subset of its Boeing 737 fleet out of the flying schedule to begin an aggressive inspection effort in cooperation with Boeing engineers,” Southwest said.

Metal fatigue was blamed for an 18-by-12 inch rip in a Southwest 737 last July while it was flying at 35,000 feet, also forcing an emergency landing. In January 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered fuselage checks for metal fatigue on 135 Boeing 737-300s, -400s and -500s in the U.S., after the planemaker recommended such checks in September 2009.

Passengers described a hole in the model 737-300 as being 1 foot (0.3 meters) wide by 3 feet long, said Linda Rutherford, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Southwest. A flight attendant and a passenger were injured, Rutherford said.

The plane will be 15 years old in June; its fuselage skin had been inspected on March 29 and Feb. 5, Rutherford said.

Top of Aircraft
An inspection by Flight 812 crew members in Yuma found a hole in the top of the aircraft, toward the middle of the cabin, the airline said. The tear found last July, in another 737-300, also was in the top of the fuselage, near the tail.

“The safety of our customers and employees is our primary concern, and we are grateful there were no serious injuries,” Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven said in the statement.

The airline is working with Boeing engineers “on an inspection regimen” that will look for “skin fatigue” on the aircraft over the next few days, Southwest said. The airline also is working with National Transportation Safety Board investigators who flew to Yuma, about 150 miles from Phoenix. The inspections will take place during the next several days at five locations, Southwest said.

Southwest has 552 737s in its fleet, Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly said on March 22. According to the airline’s website, it had 171 737-300s, 25 737-500s and 352 737-700s as of Dec. 31, 2010. The average age of Southwest’s fleet of 737-300s was 19 years as of the end of 2010.

‘Fatigue Cracks’
In the July 2010 incident, “continuous fatigue cracks” on the inside of the fuselage helped create the hole, the safety board said. No passengers were injured. In March 2009, Southwest agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine for flying jets in 2006 and 2007 without some required fuselage inspections.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing a possible bullet hole in the fuselage of a US Airways Group Inc. (LCC) Boeing 737 on March 28. The nickel-size hole was discovered on the left side of the plane near the tail during a pilot’s preflight check at the Charlotte, North Carolina, airport. The jet, which had flown from Philadelphia with 84 passengers and five crew, has since returned to service, said Michelle Mohr, a US Airways spokeswoman.

The hole in the US Airways plane extended from the jet’s skin into the cabin, Amy Thoreson, an FBI spokeswoman in Charlotte, said March 29.

On Oct. 26, 2010, an American Airlines Boeing 757-200 developed a hole in the fuselage while flying at 31,000 feet. The hole occurred just above the door on the left side near the front of the aircraft, causing a loss of pressure and forcing an emergency landing in Miami, where the flight began.

Separately yesterday, a partial loss of cabin pressure on American Airlines Flight 547 sickened six people on board and forced an emergency landing in Dayton, Ohio.

The aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, landed in Dayton at 8:20 a.m., about an hour and 10 minutes after taking off from Washington’s Reagan National Airport en route to Chicago, said Tim Smith, a spokesman for American, a unit of AMR Corp. (AMR)

To contact the reporters on this story: Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas at; Dan Hart in Washington at

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