Southwest Checks for Cracks

I’m not going to spend too much time talking about what happened today, because it’s been covered by just about everyone. (I should say overdramatized by just about everyone.) In short, Southwest had to take 38 planes out of service to perform a 90 minute check to see if there were any fuselage cracks. They canceled a fair number of flights today (Wednesday), but they should be back to normal tomorrow.

The reason I’m not going to spend much time on this is because I just don’t know much about what’s going on. Southwest says that there was an “ambiguity” related to the required checks that they discovered last night when they were going over maintenance records. So, they decided to be conservative and pull the planes out immediately.

What was this ambiguity? If they self-reported the problem to the FAA a year ago, shouldn’t those ambiguities have been discovered then and not a year later? I said before that we need to wait before condemning Southwest as being unsafe. I still stand by that, because there’s a lot that we don’t know, but this “reinspection” of aircraft certainly does not help their cause in my eyes. I still tend to think that the FAA is going to come out worst of all here, but Southwest isn’t going to come out smelling like roses by a longshot.

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