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Southwest Airlines

Southwest says 46 grounded planes were never a "safety risk"

Aug 26, 2009

A spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines Co. said Wednesday the airline grounded 46 aircraft Saturday for FAA inspections, but said there was never a ‚Äúsafety risk‚ÄĚ or problems associated with the airplanes' parts.

Ashley Rodgers, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Southwest, said the airline grounded the jets Saturday to check into a minor issue that arose after the airline hired an FAA-approved vendor to repair hinges on the aircraft.

Rodgers said the vendor then hired an FAA-approved subcontractor to perform the repairs, and although that vendor was approved for many other tasks, they were not officially listed on the FAA's approved list of vendors for the repair task at hand.

Rodgers said as soon as Southwest discovered the subcontractor was not listed for the task, the airline grounded dozens of planes for inspections.

Since Saturday, the airline has received letters from both the FAA and Boeing, ensuring Southwest the repairs were made to Boeing specifications, Rodgers said.

She added that Southwest is working with the FAA to ensure that, going forward, the subcontractor is listed by the FAA as an approved vendor for hinge repairs.

Southwest says 46 grounded planes were never a "safety risk"
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