Insta-CoGo: Southwest Flying Cracked Planes?
Wow. While CoGo was checking into passenger complaints about lost bags and delayed flights, it seems Southwest Airlines might have been flying old planes with big cracks in them! CoGo feels so guilty.
But wait, enforcing rules about required inspections of older planes isn't CoGo's job; its the job of FAA officials. And where were they until last night, when announcing they may impose record fines of $10 million against Southwest for the airline's alleged lapse in following safety regulations for as long as 30 months?
CoGo calls for an immediate congressional investigation.
The FAA says Southwest continued to fly 117 planes for at least 10 days last year even after the administration ordered the planes grounded until they passed mandatory inspections. Records also allegedly show that some of the planes operated illegally for as long as 30 months, and at least some FAA officials knew it was happening.
The planes involved are Boeing 737s. Airlines were ordered to do regular inspections after three fatal crashes involving the older planes. Southwest says the planes were safe, and the airline will fight the FAA fine.
But let's not forget Southwest's part in all this. Thomas R. Anthony, a former FAA inspector who directs the aviation safety program at the University of Southern California, told the Associated Press that if Southwest operated flights with planes that should have been inspected, "we have to ask how effective are the airline's internal controls. What decisions allowed them to continue to operate" those planes.
On CNN today, Southwest's CEO defended the company's actions, saying the directives involved one of many routine, redundant, and overlapping inspections on 46 of Southwest's more than
500 aircraft. Hear his side of things here.
How do you feel about these revelations?
By Cindy Loose |
March 7, 2008; 12:17 PM ET
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