Southwest grounds 44 planes, places three on 'leave'

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by dong20, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. dong20

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    I've flown with Southwest once or twice they seemed OK. But I recall in the various 'favourite airline' threads they were almost universally panned. It seems there may have been good cause.

    "Southwest Airlines has grounded dozens of planes following allegations that the airline broke federal safety rules, the airline said.
    art.southwest.ap.jpg

    A Southwest Airlines jet takes off at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, in July 2007.

    Forty-four Boeing planes were grounded "to determine whether they should go through further safety inspections," Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger said Wednesday.

    She could not confirm whether they were fuselage inspections or rudder inspections, issues which have recently raised concerns among Federal Aviation Administration officials and congressional investigators.

    Linda Rutherford, another Southwest spokeswoman, said the planes will be returned to service after inspection and the airline expects minimal disruptions for customers.

    The announcement came a day after the airline said it was placing three employees on administrative leave."


    Southwest grounds planes, places three on leave - CNN.com
     
  2. psidom

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    that sucks...and it will probably happen more and more.
    which sucks more.
     
  3. SpeedoGuy

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    I suspect there are probably more lurking examples of airline safety taking a back seat to making a buck. Look for some mid level managers to be fired at Southwest while upper management claims they had no idea things had gotten so bad.
     
  4. Mr. Snakey

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    I have flown with Southwest many times over the years. I found them very good. Will fly with them again in June.
     
  5. DC_DEEP

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    If those three employees were falsifying inspection records, yeah, they should not only be terminated, but also charged with criminal negligence.

    I worked for SWA as a reservations sales agent for "a few years," but that's back when Herb was at the helm. He insisted upon quality for every step of the operation, regardless of the department. It was a tough, demanding job, but it was fun.

    I'm not sure that Colleen has done such a good job as president of the company. I don't know if it's market pressures or just a difference in leadership style, but Southwest certainly "ain't what it used to be."
     
  6. ClaireTalon

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    Criminal neglegence, obviously. Nothing further to say against it, except for how little Southwest has learned from the Aloha accident. Especially since Southwest has a similar operational scheme, which consists of short- and mid-range hauls in great numbers, which accumulates more cycles on an airframe than design projections intend. However, the fact that 30 months past the compulsory inspection date the planes were still serviceable shows the standards of quality. I have to identify myself with my former employer.
     
  7. DC_DEEP

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    The 737s are indeed good aircraft. Not that it's a mitigating factor, but SWA did have the "newest" fleet in the industry when I was employed by them.

    Still, I know that those inspections should have occurred - regardless of the age of any particular airplane. That it didn't happen is obviously criminal negligence.

    I have not carefully read the reports, Claire (but I'm sure you have!) Can you give me a few specifics? Was this a widespread problem occurring at all their airports, or was it just at a few? Would the reports have to be falsified to go that far over limit, or would the oversight agency just shake a finger and say "your reports are overdue... get them in when you can"? And is it more likely that the responsible inspectors were just lazy, or that they had orders from "higher up" to skip some steps?
     
  8. Ethyl

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    I've used Southwest over the years and they were once highly rated for their service and safety but now it's not uncommon for them to overbook the flights and if you're not there ahead of time you'll find yourself stranded. Not to mention they once prided themselves on their regular inspections and punctuality. No longer. How sad.
     
  9. dong20

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    Or even more recently. Remember Air Alaska 261 - John Liotine and the elevator jackscrew incident? Slightly different problem but the same root cause, financial pressures leading to increased cycles combined with poor/inadequate maintenance. Alaskan all but got away with it, yet Liotine was (effectively) ruined.

    That the aircraft remain serviceable is indeed I agree, testimony to high build quality. But relying on that as an excuse to ignore maintenance schedules is, as you say criminal. Thankfully, this time, the problems were spotted before people were killed.
     
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