Southwest Airlines took 79 Boeing 737s out of service for inspections after one of its planes lost a piece of its fuselage in the skies over Arizona, causing delays, cancellations and long lines Saturday at three Bay Area airports.
Altogether, about 300 Southwest flights were cancelled nationwide.
On Sunday, there could be more of the same.
“We don’t at this time know what the impact will be, but it’s possible that it could be in the 300-flight range again tomorrow,” Southwest spokesman Brandy King told Reuters.
On Friday, the 737-300 lost cabin pressure after a hole opened up in the cabin roof at 36,000 feet. The pilot made what's described as a "controlled descent" to 11,000 feet, an altitude where supplemental oxygen is not necessary. It then landed safely at a military base in Yuma, Ariz., at about 4:30 p.m.
No serious injuries are reported among the 118 people aboard. One passenger says she saw a flight attendant and another passenger pass out.
Federal investigators will try to determine what caused the hole. The FBI says it was a "mechanical failure," not an act of terror or foul play.
Southwest says it's removing the 81 737s from its flight schedule so they can be inspected over the next several days. Officials say they'll try to "minimize customer inconvenience."
Flight 812 had been on its way from Phoenix to Sacramento, Calif., when the incident occurred.
A total of 288 Boeing 737-300s are currently operating in the U.S. fleet, and 931 operate worldwide, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Southwest first reported 81 planes had been grounded before lowing the figure to 79.