DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A yet to be released report by the U.S. Department of Transportation allegedly details a pattern by Southwest Airlines of flying passengers on planes with unconfirmed maintenance records.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Southwest failed to prioritize passenger safety by flying more than 17 million passengers on the planes over a nearly two-year period.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is also being chastised for allowing the Dallas-based airline to operate in a manner or long. The draft reportedly says the FAA’s oversight of the airline was “lax, ineffective and inconsistent.”
CBS 11 News reached out to Southwest for comment on the article and they issued a statement that said, in part –
“We have communicated our disappointment in the draft audit report to the OIG (FAA Office of Inspector General) and will continue to communicate any concerns directly with its office. Southwest maintains a culture of compliance, recognizing the safety of our operation as the most important thing we do.”
The newspaper said the inquiry by the Office of Inspector General found FAA managers in North Texas, the office that supervises Southwest, routinely allowed the airline “to fly aircraft with unresolved safety concerns” and created an atmosphere where the noncompliance to safety regulations was accepted. It also said the airline faced no repercussions after a jet smashed both wingtips on a runway while trying to land in gale-force winds in 2019.
The statement from Southwest said –
“As part of our Safety Culture, we have a transparent relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which includes an FAA-Approved Safety Management System designed to manage and mitigate operational risks and execute safe operating programs and practices.”
The FAA has also faced sharp criticism recently for its oversight, or lack thereof, during the development of the Boeing 737 Max. The jets were grounded in arch 2019 two fatal crashes happened in less than six months.
No specific date has been given for release of the government report, but it is expected to happen soon.