Southwest Airlines to Pay $2.8 million as Penalty Related to Maintenance Lawsuit
On Monday, in an announcement, the US Department of Justice said that Southwest Airlines has agreed to pay a penalty of $2.8 million to settle a lawsuit related to maintenance brought by the U. S. government. It also said that the carrier has agreed to bring in required operational changes in the maintenance of its aircrafts.
The Justice Department also said that the Dallas, Texas based airline also agreed to pay up to $5.5 million additional fines in case it failed to improve the oversight of its contractors that it hires to carry out the regular maintenance work.
The FAA sued Southwest Airlines last year in November in federal district court of Seattle. The charges brought in by the agency was that Southwest used 44 Boeing 737 planes from 2006 to 2009 which had had not received proper fuselage repairs. It also included charges that the airline flew two planes in 2012 after making inappropriate changes in the fluid-draining systems.
For the task of maintenance, Southwest hired Aviation Technical Services Inc. (ATS) in Everett, Washington. But even then, the responsibility of monitoring the maintenance lies with the airline company says the FAA.
The charges brought by the FAA says that as per Boeing instructions, while repairs are done in overlapping aluminum panels which make up fuselage of a plane, sealant between the panels have to be applied along with installing new fasteners within a certain time. It says, the ATS workers only placed fasteners in some of the rivet holes within the permitted time period.
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