Southwest Airlines pays $2.8 million to Uncle Sam for 737 safety violations

Southwest Airlines Co. (Southwest) and the United States settled a lawsuit involving allegations that Southwest violated Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety regulations in its maintenance of its Boeing 737s, as well as other pending administrative matters, announced the Department of Justice.  The settlement requires operational changes by Southwest designed to enhance its oversight of and control over third parties that perform maintenance on Southwest aircraft.  Southwest also agreed to pay a $2.8 million civil penalty and up to $5.5 million in deferred civil penalties if it does not implement the operational changes set forth in the settlement agreement.

“The Justice Department believes the settlement agreement with Southwest Airlines Co. will provide meaningful improvements in safety and compliance and further ensure the integrity of FAA air safety regulations,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

“Safety depends on compliance with our regulations,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.  “This agreement provides strong incentives for Southwest to take specific steps to address the compliance problems that the FAA investigations uncovered.”

This case was handled by the Civil Division’s Federal Programs Branch, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Washington, the FAA’s Office of General Counsel and the FAA’s Northwest Mountain Region.