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Southwest CEO: All but two planes back in service

A week after a hole ripped open on the fuselage of one of his planes, Southwest Airlines Chief Executive Gary C. Kelly said Friday that all but two inspected planes will be back in the air by Saturday.

During a panel discussion at a gathering of financial journalists in Dallas, Kelly said Southwest has inspected and returned to service 78 planes but is still making repairs on two Boeing 737s, including the plane with the damaged fuselage.

Boeing: 737 wasn’t old enough to be worrisome

Boeing was surprised when a section of a Southwest jetliner’s fuselage ripped open in flight because the plane wasn’t old enough to be worrisome, a company official said Tuesday, as the airline cleared most of its older 737 planes to return to the skies. Get the full story »

Southwest grounds 5 planes for repairs

A photographer next to the fuselage skin which was torn from a Southwest Boeing 737-300 aircraft last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Southwest Airlines Co. said it was making repairs on five older Boeing 737-300 planes after inspections found fuselage cracks, and added that flight operations were returning to normal on Tuesday.

The inspections of 79 planes followed an April 1 emergency landing in Arizona of a jet with a hole in its fuselage. Flight 812 was heading from Phoenix to Sacramento, Calif., when a 5-foot tear opened up 20 minutes after takeoff. Get the full story »

Southwest works to burnish Midway performance

Southwest Airlines’ struggles with on-time reliability continued in January and dragged down results at Chicago’s Midway Airport, its largest hub, federal data show.

The low-cost carrier is hiring workers and adding three departure gates to improve results at Midway, which again had the lowest rate of on-time departures among major airports. Get the full story »

Weather flight tally: 20,000 canceled

Winter storms forced airlines to ground nearly 20,000 flights this week and chilled industry earnings, resulting in an estimated net loss of $121 million to $150 million, according to AirlineForecasts LLC on Friday.

American Airlines, the country’s third-largest carrier, took the biggest hit after high winds and ice closed its Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport hub Tuesday. Get the full story »

Southwest to fly Chicago-Newark in March

Southwest Airlines is aiming for a larger slice of the Big Apple, and the corporate travel market, as it launches a slew of new flights from Chicago to Newark next spring and firms plans for onboard Internet service.

Texas-based Southwest said Thursday that it would enter Newark Liberty International AirportĀ  March 27, with six daily flights from Midway and two from St. Louis. Southwest also unveiled plans to begin charging a flat $5 per-flight fee for broadband connections. Get the full story »