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November 03, 2014

US government sues Southwest Airlines over maintenance issues

Love Field Wright Amendment 27The U.S. government filed suit against Southwest Airlines on Monday evening after the two parties were unable to reach a settlement on fines stemming from alleged maintenance violations.

In the lawsuit, filed in district court in Washington, the Federal Aviation Administration said starting in 2006, Southwest hired a third-party contractor to fix 44 Boeing 737 aircraft to prevent the aluminum skin from cracking. That third-party firm, Aviation Technical Services in Everett, Wash., did not follow proper procedures in their maintenance repairs, the FAA said.

"Although an air carrier such as Southwest may delegate alterations or maintenance work, such delegation does not relieve the air carrier of the responsibility to ensure that maintenance is performed properly and that the aircraft is airworthy upon return to service," the government says in the lawsuit.

The government asked the court to enforce $12 million in civil penalties that the FAA had announced in July.

"We dispute the FAA's allegations and look forward to the opportunity to vigorously defend Southwest's record in a court of law," Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King told the Associated Press on Monday night.

Click here to download the Southwest Airlines lawsuit.

-Andrea Ahles



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