Southwest Airlines today announced it has been successful in completing all immediate inspections ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday regarding wiring of the fuel pump in the aircraft's main tank. Southwest further announced it has completed all immediate inspections with minimal Customer inconvenience.
"At the time the FAA ordered the immediate inspection of the fuel pump wiring Sunday morning, we had already inspected 29 of the 35 Southwest aircraft encompassed by this order," said Dale Stolzer, Southwest's director of engineering. "The remaining six aircraft were inspected by Sunday afternoon."
Stolzer said the inspections were completed by Southwest Airlines maintenance personnel at the airline's four maintenance facilities located in Phoenix, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas. The majority of inspections were completed at night, resulting in minimal Customer inconvenience.
On Sunday, the FAA ordered the immediate inspection of all 737s with more than 50,000 flight hours. The FAA's original Airworthiness Directive (AD) was published on Thursday, May 7, due to its concerns regarding possible wear in the wiring bundles of the aircraft's main fuel tank.
"Southwest's mission is to assure the safety of our Customers and our fleet," Stolzer said. "In completing the FAA's inspections with little or no Customer inconvenience, we must credit the incredible team here at Southwest Airlines, particularly our Maintenance department."
In addition to ordering the immediate inspection of 737s with more than 50,000 flight cycles, the FAA also called for the inspection of 737s with 40,000 to 50,000 flight hours. That will encompass an additional 30 Southwest aircraft (-200, -300). The airlines have 14 days to complete those inspections. Southwest has already started those inspections and will have no problem completing them by the FAA's deadline.
"Southwest Airlines has an impeccable safety record, largely due to the safety and reliability of the Boeing 737. These inspections will make an already safe aircraft even safer," Stolzer said.
All 266 of Southwest Airlines' aircraft are currently running as scheduled.
Southwest Airlines has been named a charter member of the International Airline Passengers Association's Honor Roll of Airlines among the World's Safest Airlines. Southwest also has been recognized as one of the world's safest airlines by Conde Nast Traveler, a national magazine that specializes in information for business and leisure travelers.
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