Last updated: 08:24 AM ET, Thu April 02 2015

Southwest Facing Yet Another FAA Fine

Impacting Travel | Rich Thomaselli | April 02, 2015

Southwest Facing Yet Another FAA Fine

Southwest Airlines is again facing substantial financial penalties from the Federal Aviation Administration over failing to correct maintenance issues on two of its planes.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Southwest is facing $328,550 in fines stemming from cases dating back to 2013 – one in which the FAA says Southwest failed to do a mandatory check for damage and to make sure depleted oxygen bottles were replaced after an aircraft lost cabin pressure during a flight, and the other on Southwest subsidiary AirTran which involved mechanics improperly deferring repairs on a leaking air conditioning unit.

In the first instance, the FAA alleged that Southwest continued to fly the plane in question 123 more times between the date of the incident on May 13, 2013 and the time it completed the inspection on June 3 of that year.

In the second case, “The FAA alleges that the airline failed to fully comply with its FAA-approved maintenance procedures, which describe in detail how to make repairs and then accurately account for them in the aircraft’s logbooks. The FAA further alleges that during the troubleshooting process, mechanics deferred making the repairs by improperly applying an MEL exemption to this particular situation. The aircraft was flown on several passenger-carrying flights before the issue was resolved.”

Southwest, already battling the FAA over a $12 million maintenance-related fine from last year, has asked to meet with the FAA to discuss the two latest allegations.

A Southwest spokesman told the Dallas Morning News, “The FAA Release describes two (2) distinct proposed penalties relating to separate 2013 events, with each event allegedly affecting a single, different aircraft.  Upon discovery, each repair was appropriately addressed in accordance with applicable regulations and Southwest Airlines’ Maintenance Program. These items were fully resolved some time ago and are not currently an issue for aircraft being operated by Southwest Airlines. We are committed to continuous enhancements to our internal maintenance procedures, with a focus on safety in all aspects of our operations. We make every effort to ensure that our fleet is maintained in accordance with applicable regulations and is aligned with best practices in the industry.”


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