Southwest Tried to Cover Up Safety Issues: Inspectors

FAA too cozy with airlines, they say
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2008 9:53 AM CDT
Southwest airplanes are seen at Love Field in Dallas, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2008.   (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Southwest Airlines tried to cover up maintenance problems, and the FAA almost let them, according to two inspectors who will testify before Congress today that the agency is too cozy with airlines. When the inspectors realized Southwest was flying dozens of jets without required inspections, their superiors did nothing, they say. And Southwest was asking those superiors to remove one troublesome inspector from the case, CNN reports.

It’s the first time the whistleblowers have spoken publicly since maintenance problems came to light last month, forcing Southwest to ground 44 planes and pay record fines. The pair will accuse the FAA of being too close to the industry it regulates, according to statements reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. “We just weren’t willing to accept anything other than sweeping change,” one inspector said.