Southwest Airlines faces a $325,000 fine from the Department of Transportation for allegedly violating federal aviation regulations.
Last month, a Federal Aviation Administration inspector found that Southwest had improperly recorded a temporary repair to a nine-inch crease in the aluminum skin of a Boeing 737 jetliner’s rear cargo door as a permanent repair.
The FAA said after the Dallas-based airline made the temporary repair on May 2, 2002, it was required to inspect the temporary repair every 4,000 flights and complete a permanent repair within 24,000 flights.
The administration alleges that Southwest operated the aircraft on 24,831 flights without performing the periodic inspections and operated the plane on 4,831 flights beyond the flight threshold by which it was required to have performed the permanent repair.
In a statement, the airline, which made the final repair on July 24, 2014, said the proposed penalty pertains to an allegation that Southwest Airlines failed to track properly a condition involving a single aircraft dating back to 2002.
“Southwest discovered the potential deficiency during a maintenance inspection performed in July 2014, and all issues were promptly addressed to the satisfaction of the FAA before the aircraft was returned to revenue service,” the company said. “There is no impact to any other aircraft in our fleet.”
Southwest said safety is a top priority and the company strives to always be in full compliance with established and approved maintenance processes and procedures.
Southwest has asked to meet with the FAA to discuss the case.
This story was updated at 5 p.m. to include the statement from Southwest.