The fact that Southwest Airlines and Gary Kelly are trying to pin recent losses on their Aircraft Maintenance Technicians and contract negotiations is alarming. Southwest’s self-imposed “state of operational emergency” is a reaction to the increased FAA oversight and a way to distract the public from Southwest’s own degrading safety standards. Southwest Aircraft Technicians are obligated under federal law to protect everyone who steps on that aircraft and there is zero evidence presented of a non-legitimate discrepancy by an Aircraft Maintenance Technician. How can 2,500 Southwest employees be the blame over their own Senior Management? And why hasn’t the FAA stepped in knowing that there is a documented track record of cases of coercion and intimidation in the Southwest workplace?
Southwest continues to make excuses and will do whatever it can to avoid facing the long-term degradation of their safety culture. Any aircraft being put out of service are being done so for legitimate reasons and any insinuation to the contrary further demonstrates that Southwest Management simply doesn’t get it. Even after reports by credible media, calls for investigation by Congress, FAA investigations, OIG investigations and more. At some point Southwest needs to stop blaming everyone else and acknowledge there is a problem. Until then, we will see even more excuses, scapegoating, and intimidation, and watch the safety culture continue its decline in the name of profit.