What Do You Have to Do to Get Fired?

Southwest Airlines and the saga of AD 2004-07-08

On the other hand, if the FAA knew about the violations and acquiesced in the continuing violations then it could be said it agreed with a de facto extension of time within which to complete compliance. There is even a suggestion that FAA personnel may have had an agreement to allow the overflight extension of times. If this is true and the extension to comply was allowed with a wink and smile then serious repercussions may occur involving the FAA and the personnel involved, as stated in Representative Oberstar’s committee hearing. The ironic part is that extensions of time are sometimes routinely granted formally when there is reason to do so.

By the time you will be reading this piece more information will be available about what the FAA did and who did it. Congress will pursue the facts in this case until the bureaucrats fess up. One of Oberstar’s committee members, Representative Edie Bernice Johnson, D-TX, asked Nick Sabatini, Associate Administrator, if the FAA manager who told SWA to keep on flying its aircraft (beyond the inspection deadlines) was still on the FAA payroll. He replied “yes, ma’am.” “What do you have to do to get fired then?” she asked.

I believe the SWA enforcement action will disappear as being unfounded and ill-conceived. Send your comments to aerolaw@att.net.

Stephen P. Prentice is an attorney whose practice involves FAA-NTSB issues. He has an Airframe and Powerplant certificate and is an ATP rated pilot. He worked with Western Airlines and the Allison Division of GMC in Latin America, servicing commercial and military overhaul activities and is a USAF veteran. E-mail: aerolaw@att.net

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