Southwest cancels 300 flights today as it inspects jets

PHOENIX (AP) - Southwest Airlines says it will have to cancel about 300 flights today as it sidelines some of its older planes for inspection.

The airline is taking about 80 of its Boeing 737s out of service to check for possible "skin" problems after one of its planes lost a piece of its fuselage in the skies over Arizona.

Flight 812 was on its way from Phoenix to Sacramento, Calif., yesterday when a hole opened up in the cabin roof. The plane lost cabin pressure and made an emergency landing at a military base in Yuma, Ariz. No serious injuries were reported.

Southwest says the plane was a 15-year-old 737-300 that had undergone all inspections required by the Federal Aviation Administration. The 737-300 is the oldest model in Southwest's fleet. The airline has about 170 of them, and they're gradually being retired.

Southwest says it has replaced the aluminum skin on many of its 737-300s in recent years. Those being grounded haven't had their skin replaced.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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