Tourism Industry News
FlyersRights.org Urges FAA Not to Relax Safety Rules
NAPA, Calif., (PRNewswire / WorldTourismNews) - Kate Hanni, founder and Executive Director of FlyersRights.org, today urged the Federal Aviation Administration against granting an exemption to Southwest Airlines that would allow the carrier to continue its use of unauthorized aircraft parts, calling it "a clear lapse of maintenance rules that could ultimately imperil passengers."
The FAA is about to rule on Southwest's request for an exemption that would allow it to continue using unauthorized parts on approximately 82 of its Boeing 737 aircraft.
Southwest claims that the parts, which have been in use on some of its planes for at least 3 years, do not pose an imminent safety risk, but allowing their use would be a sharp departure from the long-standing FAA practice of requiring non-conforming planes to be grounded until they are retrofitted with parts authorized under FAA safety regulations.
Published reports indicate that the FAA is wrestling with the possibility of granting Southwest's request for an exemption, hoping to avoid costly disruptions to Southwest's operations. The carrier has reported losses in three of the last four quarters.
"The FAA famously considers the airlines its 'customers,' but sometimes, the customer isn't right, and this is one of those occasions," said Hanni.
"If the FAA allows Southwest this exemption, it will be rewarding the airline for using unauthorized parts in the first place, and will lead to a Niagara of non-conforming parts exemption requests from Southwest's competitors that will ultimately imperil passenger safety."
An FAA decision on Southwest's request is expected immediately, Hanni said.
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