After admitting that it missed inspections of its hydraulic systems, SWA confirms to Flight Chic that it reached an agreement with the FAA to avoid a grounding of 128 of its 737-700 aircraft, which represents nearly 20% of the airlines’ fleet.
The issue first came to our attention when John Ostrower, of the Wall Street Journal issued these tweets:
After following up on the matter directly with the airline, Flight Chic received a statement confirming that it had reached an arrangement with the FAA to avoid the fleet grounding.
“Southwest Airlines discovered an overdue maintenance check required to be performed on the standby hydraulic system, which serves as a back-up to the primary hydraulic systems. As a result of this discovery, 128 -700 aircraft were identified as having overflown a required check. Once identified, Southwest immediately and voluntarily removed the affected aircraft from service, initiated maintenance checks, disclosed the matter to the FAA, and developed an action plan to complete all overdue checks. The FAA approved a proposal that would allow Southwest to continue operating the aircraft for a maximum of five days as the checks are completed. Approximately 80 cancellations occurred today as a result of the events and the airline is anticipating a very minimal impact to their operations tomorrow. The Safety of our Customers and Employees remains our highest priority and we are working quickly to resolve the situation,” explains SWA Spokesperson Brandy King.
This past July, I published a report on Skift regarding a $12 Million Fine issued to SWA by the FAA for poor maintenance practices by its maintenance supplier Aviation Technical Services (ATS) when performing makeovers on of 44 the airline’s 737 fuselages.
The airline’s willingness to report on itself in this case influenced the FAA’s decision.