Concern Grows After OIG Report Reveals Deficient Safety Culture At Southwest Airlines
Following the report on Southwest Airlines’ major safety failings in OIG report last week, concern is growing in Washington, D.C. over what the report says about the FAA oversight of the airline.
As the union representing the expert mechanics tasked with upholding the safety of Southwest’s aircraft, we were alarmed, but not surprised by the findings — as we’ve been warning our company for years, publicly and privately, to address our concerns.
Now Senator Dianne Feinstein has written a letter to Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, expressing her concern and asking that Southwest “provide a list of steps” Southwest is taking to improve safety “as a result of the report’s findings.”
We have written a letter to Sen. Feinstein in response. In part, it says:
On behalf of the thousands of aircraft mechanics working for Southwest Airlines, I want to convey our appreciation for your February 13, 2020, letter to Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly. As the National Director of Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) — the only craft specific aircraft mechanic union representing the Aviation Maintenance Technicians (AMT) of Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, and Southwest Airlines, we share your concern regarding the recent report of the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT OIG) detailing the numerous safety violations at Southwest Airlines.
Due to your interest in the DOT OIG identified safety lapses, I want to alert you to a particularly dire situation facing AMTs working at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In two recent whistleblower investigations, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concluded that Southwest Airlines engaged in coercive management practices over the maintenance operations. As you will read below, these practices lend additional credibility to the deteriorating culture of safety that will ultimately impact the safety of the traveling public.
Notwithstanding the Inspector General’s finding that the FAA’s oversight of Southwest safety compliance has been lax, back-to-back agency reports have confirmed that coercive management practices within Southwest’s maintenance operations present a threat to the traveling public.
Read our full letter here.