Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Federal Aviation Administration Fines Southwest $328,550 Over Two Safety Issues • Dallas-based airline says it followed proper procedures

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday proposed fining Southwest Airlines $328,550 for not properly inspecting a plane that lost cabin pressure and made an emergency landing and, in a second case, putting off repairs and not accurately logging them.

The airline said it did nothing wrong.

On May 13, 2013, a Southwest jet made an emergency landing in Baltimore after losing pressure during a flight from Boston to St. Louis.

But according to the FAA, mechanics never conducted a mandatory inspection to check for damage and to replace used oxygen bottles. The same plane went on 123 flights before the inspection was completed on June 3.

In a separate case, on March 18, 2013, an Air Tran Airways plane operated by Southwest experienced a problem with ice and water coming from its galley vent, the FAA said.

Over the next few weeks, crews deferred fixing making repairs by improperly claiming an exemption and did not follow FAA-approved maintenance procedures, which include detailing the issue in the plane’s logbook. The plane flew several times before the problem was fixed, the safety agency said.

In the first case, the government fined the airline $265,800. In the second incident, the fine was $62,750.

In a written statement, Southwest said it did not violate FAA rules.

“Upon discovery, each repair was appropriately addressed in accordance with applicable regulations,” the statement said. “These items were fully resolved some time ago.”

Asked if the airline would appeal the fine, Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish said, “Southwest has requested a meeting with the FAA to discuss each proposed penalty.”

Just last year, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Southwest over $12 million in penalties, which was the second-largest fine ever imposed by the FAA.

In that case, the airline was accused of flying 44 planes on more than 30,000 flights in violation of safety rules.

At the time, Southwest said it looked forward to defending its safety record in court.

The case, filed in federal court in Seattle, is still pending.

Original article can be found here: http://www.nbcdfw.com

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