The FAA has accused Southwest of lack of due diligence over a group of 737’s it purchased used from a number of carriers.
The aircraft, 39 of them, were purchased between 2013 and 2017, and were considered airworthy in mid-2018. The FAA says they became aware of issues over the aircraft through their normal oversight procedures.
Southwest has a DAR – designated airworthiness representative – certification, allowing it to declare the aircraft safe.
The implication from the FAA is that this hasn’t been used properly and Southwest need to get their act together.
24 of the 39 aircraft listed were said to have insufficiently suitable or incorrect repairs of significance. 30 of the aircraft had repairs for which there was no documentation. There were also 42 major repairs, all documented, that did not meet FAA standards.
The FAA wants the entire issue resolved and problems identified by July 2020.
The FAA was even more concerned that Southwest had dealt with only half the aircraft in the 24 months since it was warned, and that it now only has 8 months to resolve the rest.
The FAA is threatening groundings if needed to get the aircraft fixed.