Report: FAA Reassigns Managers Overseeing Southwest Airlines
Amidst whistleblower complaints of lax safety enforcement and their resulting government investigations, the FAA has decided to remove three senior supervisors from the office responsible for Southwest Airlines Co., according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Transportation Department's inspector general has been reviewing safety concerns for months, including lapses in documentation and failure to correctly calibrate luggage weight, the paper reported.
The three employees, which include an office manager and two lieutenants, have been reassigned and interim replacements have been made, the paper reported, citing unnamed sources. Also noted are allegations of retaliation against whistleblowers, sparking office friction and disputes that have failed to resolve over time. This is in line with complaints made by the FAA's safety inspectors union over the previous months regarding managerial harassment of employees who have raised concerns.
Southwest has declined to comment to the WSJ on the situation, stating that it is a staffing decision by the FAA. In an earlier statement to CBS news regarding concerns over its safety practices, Southwest emphasized its dedication to open communication and safety compliance.
"Southwest is fully committed to ensuring the Safety of our Customers and Employees," the Dallas-based airline noted in February. "We continuously work to create and foster a Culture of Safety that proactively identifies and manages risks to the operation and workplace. With a fleet of 750 planes and 4,000 flights a day, we have a rigorous and well-run program. Safety has always been our highest priority—from day one to today and always. We are absolutely confident that our maintenance policies, procedures, and programs ensure the Safety and airworthiness of our aircraft."