Southwest Airlines voluntarily grounded 128 Boeing 737 jets Tuesday night after admitting it missed a series of mandatory inspections on the planes.
But the grounding was short-lived after federal officials agreed to let Southwest continue to fly the planes as long as they receive the required check in the next five days.
Still, the move resulted in the cancellation of about 80 flights Tuesday night, the Dallas-based carrier said. The company said it canceled about 20 more flights for Wednesday as it performs the needed inspections.
Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King told The Associated Press the airline expected to finish “a good portion” of the inspections by Wednesday morning and that more disruptions were not expected.
The inspections were related to scheduled checks of the planes’ secondary hydraulic system used to control the rudder. The system serves as a backup to the jets’ primary hydraulic system in the event of a failure.
Southwest says it immediately grounded the jets after discovering the oversight and promptly notified the Federal Aviation Administration.
Southwest has been in the news for several maintenance-related issues in recent years. The FAA in November moved to enforce a $12 million penalty that came after the agency claimed Southwest and contractor Aviation Technical Services of Everett, Wash., failed to properly repair fuselage panels.
Earlier this decade, the FAA ordered new inspections for certain Boeing 737 models after a hole was torn in the roof of an aging Southwest Airlines plane during a flight. The incident was one of two such incidents to affect the airline.
The company also settled a suit over missed inspections for fatigue cracks in fuselages in 2009 for $7.5 million. The FAA had proposed a $10.2 million penalty.