A Southwest Airlines flight from El Paso, Texas to Phoenix, Arizona had to make an emergency landing instead of its planned normal landing after an engine failed. Officials from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport said the Boeing 737 carrying 139 people landed safely with no injuries. Fire and emergency crews were standing ready near the runway if needed.
This incident brings yet another Southwest airplane to the roster of a long list of problems. Southwest exclusively uses Boeing 737′s from the 200, 300, 500, and 700 variants. The airline has one of the oldest fleets in the industry with the average age of its aircraft at 23 years old. The age itself is not the most important determining factor but rather than the intensive use of the planes every day, the average airplane with Southwest will cycle through landings and departures upwards of 9 times a day, far more than most airlines.
The airline is gaining increasing attention as it goes through a long list of problems with its aircraft. While the airline contends it meets FAA maintenance regulations, some argue that is not true, and when added to the heavy duty cycle it only spells eventual disaster. The airline has been in the news recently for another emergency landing after a hole in the fuselage blew open while in flight, and while the investigation continues, the cause appears to be faulty craftsmanship by the manufacturer on certain 737 models used by the airline.