On March 6, the U.S. FAA initiated an action to collect a $10.2 million civil penalty from Southwest Airlines for operating 46 airplanes without performing mandatory inspections for fuselage fatigue cracking.
The airline is taking action on preliminary findings of its own internal investigation. According to a press statment, Southwest has placed three employees on administrative leave. Those Employees are cooperating with the investigation.
Southwest hired a respected outside consultant with proven experience to help review its maintenance program controls, especially Airworthiness Directive (AD) compliance.
And Southwest is fully engaged with the FAA on its current audit and committed to FAA leadership that it will investigate and address any deficiencies in its maintenance controls.
During a review by Southwest of its maintenance records, the airline discovered an ambiguity related to required testing. Southwest immediately began ground and reinspecting 44 aircraft. (Southwest Airlines)