Southwest Airlines stated Monday it should complete inspections on 38 737 airplanes it purchased from foreign air carriers by Jan. 31 that may not meet all U.S. aviation safety standards.
The aircraft are part of 88 pre-owned Boeing 737 planes Southwest bought between 2013 and 2017 from 16 foreign carriers. The faster tests come after scrutiny of 39 used planes turned up previously undisclosed repairs and incorrectly completed fixes. Southwest used multiple contractors to conduct the evaluations of the planes’ maintenance data when they purchased the aircraft.
Southwest stated its inspections so far “didn’t originate from any suspected safety concerns with the plane.” It added its “continuous evaluation of the ongoing investigations had revealed nothing to warrant the expedited timeline” however, it will meet it nevertheless.
Last year, Southwest agreed to conduct complete physical scrutiny on every of these pre-owned plane over a two-year interval after a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety inspector in May 2018 found discrepancies in data for a few of 88 jets.
The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee noted Monday that the 2018 findings prompted a full records overview by Southwest Airlines of all 88 planes that found 360 major fixtures previously unknown to the airline because they weren’t disclosed in the contractors’ initial review.
Foushee’s memo stated Southwest grounded 34 planes in November last year for inspections. The committee said, as a result, some aircraft had been grounded “for immediate maintenance to convey them into regulatory compliance on account of these newly found prior major repairs.”
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker stated in an Oct. 30 letter to the FAA that its issues about Southwest’s used aircraft correspond “to concerns which have been brought to my attention by whistleblowers as a part of my scrutiny into aviation safety.”