FAA opts against grounding Southwest planes during repairs

09/2/2009 | Wall Street Journal, The · NYTimes.com · Washington Post, The

The FAA said Tuesday that Southwest Airlines may continue replacing unauthorized parts on many 737s without grounding approximately 10% of its fleet. Southwest has until Dec. 24 to complete the repairs, and the FAA will conduct weekly inspections "until fixes are made." Though the FAA faced some political pressure to take a hard line, the agency appeared satisfied with a Boeing Co. finding that the unapproved parts did not represent an "imminent threat" to safety. The decision allows Southwest to avoid widespread disruptions to its flight schedule, but the airline could still face financial penalties as the FAA continues an investigation into the matter. "We concur that this plan is the best and most reasonable manner in which to fulfill the FAA's mandate," Southwest's COO said in a statement.

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