Maintenance Emergency: How safe is it to fly on Southwest Airlines?

Maintenance Emergency: How safe is it to fly on Southwest Airlines?

I’ve seen people walked off the job, held on suspension for a month or more because they’ve reported problems that they supposedly were outside their scope for finding. 
Such alarming feedback by a Southwest Airlines mechanic may be the reason for a state of mechanical emergency at this time.

eTurboNews had reported about the question of safety on SouthWestAirlines already a year ago.

Last week  Southwest Airlines has declared an ‘operational emergency’ due to grounded jets and threatened to fire mechanics who don’t show up for work.

As part of that declaration, a company memo all mechanics who have been scheduled to work have to turn up or, if they don’t provide a doctor’s certification, be in danger of dismissal.

Southwest Airlines issued this statement:

Southwest’s maintenance organization issued a call to maximize the number of Mechanics available for work. On an average day, the airline plans for as many as 20 aircraft to be unexpectedly out of service for maintenance items. Each day this week, the percentage of out-of-service aircraft in our available fleet of approximately 750 aircraft, has more than doubled the daily average. 

So an unusual number of Southwest’s aircraft are calling in sick. Indeed, 100 flights were canceled on Friday, another 39 on Saturday.

The airline’s planes, all Boeing 737s, are put under constant pressure. Southwest depends on fast turnarounds and multiple stops.

In a company memo seen by CNBC the carrier said notes from doctors were needed if they were ‘alleging illness’ after an unusually high number of planes needed maintenance work.

Southwest would usually expect 20 aircraft out of service each day due to maintenance work. This week they say the average has been double among its available fleet of around 750 Boeing 737s


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Lonnie Warren, senior director of technical operations, wrote in the memo: ‘This is not the type of communication I (or any leader) want to issue, but it is necessary to get our aircraft back in service in order to serve our customers.’

Author: Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.

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