FAA scrutinizes for lack of enforcement to southwest airlines.
WASHINGTON — Three veteran Federal Aviation Administrationinspectors told lawmakers on Thursday that their agency supervisorslooked the other way while Southwest Airlines neglected to inspectplanes as required, and continued to fly them even after discoveringcracks in some of them.
The inspectors said that their F.A.A.supervisors knew of the problems but had discouraged them from pursuingthe safety problems or addressing problems within the agency, eventhreatening to relieve them of their duties.
One was removed fromhis job as an office manager and another was encouraged to apply for atransfer, they said. A third said he was temporarily removed from hisrole overseeing Southwest, as a result of complaints by the airline.
TheF.A.A. has since proposed a fine of $10.2 million against Southwest,because it flew tens of thousands of flights without performinginspections of the fuselage skin. The inspections were meant to preventa repeat of a 1989 accident, when a huge chunk of skin peeled off anAloha Airlines plane in flight.
WASHINGTON(Reuters) - Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversight ofSouthwest Airlines Co (LUV.N: Quote, Profile, Research) maintenance wasso cozy the agency allowed the carrier to violate safety rulesrepeatedly for years, a government watchdog said on Thursday.
CalvinScovel, inspector general of the Transportation Department, told aHouse of Representatives Transportation Committee the problem likelyextends to other airlines and suggests the FAA has failed to protectemployees who report safety problems from retaliation.
"FAAoversight lapses at the local and national level allowed weakness inSouthwest's maintenance program to go undetected for years," Scovelsaid.
There is also an earlier story here on NowPublic regarding these allegations :