Saturday, March 08, 2008

No LUV, or Maybe Too Much, from the FAA

As a longtime flyer of Southwest Airlines, this was not welcome news:
WASHINGTON – The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday it would fine Southwest Airlines Co. $10.2 million for safety violations that included knowingly flying more than three dozen jets without mandatory inspections for structural damage.

Southwest, which found cracks in the bodies of six of its jets during belated inspections, said safety was never jeopardized.

The fine would be the largest ever levied against an airline, the FAA said.

When Southwest belatedly conducted the inspections, it found cracks in the bodies of six Boeing 737-300s, with the largest measuring 4 inches. Serious fractures can depressurize an aircraft and in 1988 caused an Aloha Airlines jet to rip apart, killing a flight attendant.

The FAA announced the fine a week before congressional investigators were to disclose findings from their own inquiry into Southwest's failure to meet airworthiness directives. That investigation was prompted by information provided by Dallas-based FAA inspectors who said their supervisors allowed the planes to keep flying even after Southwest reported its failure to make the scheduled inspections.

The FAA doesn't come out looking too good, either. Regulatory capture, anyone?


Anonymous said...

Regulatory capture is the reason I don't eat beef,0,401189.story

Watch for more beef recalls . . . this is far from over -- 143 million pounds recalled so far in 2008.

Another good example of regulatory capture is the SEC. Watch for revelations about naked short selling, which the SEC has done next to nothing to stop, despite knowing about it -- and the damage it has done to small companies -- for years. Hedge funds also remain unregulated.

A Red Mind in a Blue State said...

I learn several things every day--thanks for the phrase "regulatory capture" (a long time since my econ classes at Richmond!)

But, seriously, Wikipedia?


Andrew Samwick said...

The reason I link to Wikipedia, even when it is not a particularly good entry now, is that there is some likelihood that the entry will improve over time. At least that's the hope.