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Under Intense FAA Scrutiny, Southwest Faces Critical Juncture



Southwest Airlines is at a critical juncture that could greatly affect the carrier’s bottom line.

The Dallas-based airline already has 34 of its planes out of service because of the grounding of the airlines/southwest-pilots-sue-boeing-over-lost-737-max-income.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>Boeing 737 Max aircraft. Now Southwest is facing further scrutiny from the airlines/faa-requests-more-changes-to-boeing-software.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>Federal Aviation Administration, which is threatening to ground 49 more jets due to discrepancies in maintenance records.

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In a nutshell, Southwest purchased 88 planes from more than a dozen foreign airlines over the last six years. But in May of 2018, FAA inspectors found discrepancies in some of the maintenance records and the airline was given two years to verify that all necessary work had been successfully completed.

But of October 29, 2019, the airline had inspected only 39 of those 88 planes, meaning Southwest barely has six months left to complete all the maintenance on the remaining 49.

If the FAA follows through on its threat to ground any planes that haven’t been inspected and repaired, Southwest is looking at the 34 Boeing 737 Max jets already sideline, plus 49 more, for a total of 83 planes. That represents slightly over 11 percent of the airline’s 751 total aircraft.

are safe to fly and that it’s complying with all FAA directives as the plane inspections continue.

According to The Hill, Southwest Airlines has been fined by the FAA 262 times for aviation-related safety items in the last 19 years and has paid more than $17.5 million in fines.

Given the current issues with the 737 Max, it is doubtful that the FAA will lessen its pressure on Southwest to ensure that these 49 planes are in working order.

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