DALLAS, March 12 (UPI) -- Southwest Airlines said Wednesday it has grounded 44 jetliners until the low-fare Dallas air carrier tests them for potential structural problems.
The airline said it is inspecting the aircraft after a review of its records revealed "ambiguities," CNN.com reported. The inspections take about 90 minutes per plane.
The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee responded by issuing a statement saying it has doubts whether the Federal Aviation Administration had followed up after inspection shortfalls were discovered last year.
Southwest was found to have allowed dozens of jets to fly beyond the date structural inspections were due.
The FAA fined the airline $10.2 million last week, but two FAA inspectors have charged that FAA officials had told them to back away from earlier notification that the airline's maintenance program had lapsed.
Southwest suspended three employees Wednesday.
"I have insisted that we have the appropriate maintenance organizational and governance structure in place to ensure that the right decisions are being made," Southwest Chief Executive Gary Kelly said in a statement.
According to Flightstats.com, Southwest canceled 118 flights as of midday Wednesday, out of 1,275 tracked to that point, The Dallas Morning News reported.