Report Calls Out 'Lax' Safety Culture At Southwest Airlines

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 2:08pm

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Southwest Airlines plane
Jean Clare Sarmiento/KJZZ

A soon-to-be-released audit says Dallas-based Southwest Airlines failed to confirm maintenance records for planes carrying upwards of 17 million passengers. The report raises concerns about how the Federal Aviation Administration monitors airline safety.

The Wall Street Journal reviewed a draft audit of the FAA inspector general. The report says Southwest Airlines flew planes without the FAA confirming proper maintenance inspections. Today’s Wall Street Journal story calls the FAA's oversight of the airline "lax, ineffective and inconsistent."

Of the 46 FAA employees interviewed for the audit, two-thirds "raised concerns about the culture" at the airline.

Seth Kaplan, a transportation analyst for NPR and WBUR’s Here & Now and co-host of the “Airlines Confidential podcast,” joined The Show to discuss the controversy.

Southwest responded to a request for comment from KJZZ with a statement which says, "We have communicated our disappointment in the draft audit report to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) 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."

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