FOX Business has an article circulating detailing an update on Southwest Airlines and an issue they have been dealing with for two years.
SWA reported publicly that 130 738s in it’s fleet would be temporarily removed from service to have their weight data systems recalibrated. The FAA states an infraction occurred beginning in May of 2018 and continued through August of 2018, lasting almost 3 months. The airline is expecting to pay a hefty 4 million dollar fine for the weight discrepancies on 44 aircraft on over 21,000 flights during the 3 month period.
FAA officials say the discrepancies stem from “incorrect operational empty weights” and “center of gravity or moment data.” These both determine how many PAX and how much fuel can be brought on board safely. It also determines where cargo should be placed to properly balance the aircraft for flight.
USDOT Inspector General states that the FAA is also in violation of their own rules as they did not address the discrepancies in 2018 correctly! Yet another hit on the FAA’s record after the Boeing 737MAX certification. From early 2018 until August of 2019, SWA was allowed by the FAA to operate without the proper weight data on 738s in the fleet.
In terms of the airlines operational capability with this set back and the pandemic, SWA continues to post relatively good numbers amid rumors of bankruptcies and the continued downfall of other carriers all over the world.
What are your thoughts IFC? Let me know below!
Jack Wheeler | @WheelerAviation SWVA COO/KMDW Base Captain