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Southwest Airlines Cancels 300 Flights Sunday

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LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Southwest Airlines said it expects to cancel 300 flights on Sunday as the airline continues its inspection of 79 of its Boeing 737 aircraft, in the aftermath of an emergency landing of one of its planes two days earlier.

The move, confirmed by company spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger, follows the cancellations of 300 flights by Southwest on Saturday.

At Bob Hope and Los Angeles International airports Saturday, about half of outgoing Southwest flights were canceled or delayed.

Eichinger says the company hasn’t made a decision about the status of flights on Monday.

“We are working as diligently as possible to minimize any impact on (customers’) travel plans,” Eichinger told The Associated Press.

The aircraft will be inspected over the next several days at five locations, the company said.

No one was seriously injured Friday as the aircraft carrying 118 people rapidly lost cabin pressure and made a harrowing but controlled descent from 34,500 feet, landing safely near Yuma, Ariz., 150 miles southwest of Phoenix. But passengers recalled tense minutes after a hole ruptured overhead with a blast, and they fumbled frantically for oxygen masks as the plane descended.

In a release issued Saturday, Southwest said the passengers on board Flight 812 have received a full refund along with an apology and two complimentary round-trip passes on Southwest for future flights.

On Sunday, federal investigators examining the damaged plane in Yuma said the entire length of a 5-foot-long tear in the skin of the aircraft shows evidence of pre-existing fatigue cracking.

For more information on possible flight delays and cancellations and to check your flight status, go to Southwest.com.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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