Posted on 08/20/2015 | About Dallas, Texas

Maintenance issues still a problem says FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration could hit Dallas-based Southwest Airlines with a US $325,000 fine for operating an aging aircraft without inspecting what was supposed to be a temporary repair.
In July, an FAA inspector at a maintenance base in El Salvador, performed an aging aircraft inspection on a Boeing 737 and reported that he found that Southwest improperly recorded a temporary repair to a crease in the jetliner’s rear cargo door as permanent.

The damage had been first reported in Southwest’s maintenance records in May 2002, when the temporary repair was made, the agency reported. The airline was required to inspect that repair every 4,000 flights and make the repair permanent within 24,000 flights.

The FAA says the airline operated the aircraft on 24,831 flights without performing the periodic inspections required for a temporary repair, and says Southwest operated the plane on 4,831 flights beyond the flight threshold where a permanent repair was required.

As a result, the FAA is suggesting that Southwest be fined $325,000.

Southwest Airlines fired back that it was told about the proposed fine in a July 9 letter but that it discovered the potential deficiency in July 2014 and that all the “issues were promptly addressed to the satisfaction of the FAA before the aircraft was returned to service.”

“There is no impact to any other aircraft in our fleet,” Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said in a prepared statement. “Safety is the top priority at Southwest, and we always strive for full compliance with established and approved maintenance processes and procedures.”

Southwest has asked to meet with FAA officials to discuss the proposed penalty.

Southwest has ongoing issues with the FAA over its maintenance programme.

In April, the FAA proposed $328,550 in fines against Southwest for how it handled two planes. In one instance, the agency said, Southwest failed to properly inspect a Boeing 737 that experienced cabin depressurization on May 2013 and that the airline operated the plane another 123 flights before it completed an inspection. The agency also said Southwest had failed to accurately record repairs on a Boeing 717 with air-conditioning problems and continued to fly it.

In July 2014 the FAA fined Southwest $12 million because it did not comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. The agency and airline couldn’t reach a settlement, so the case is before the US Justice Department.