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Thu, Jun 25, 2009

Dispatchers Raise Southwest Safety Questions

Major Overhaul Work Done In El Salvador

Dispatchers at Southwest Airlines, represented by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) have raised “multiple safety concerns” about Southwest Airlines flights to El Salvador for major overhauls.

File Photo

TWU Local 550 members also have been disturbed by what appear to be “an ongoing close relationship between the FAA and SWA.” The FAA has worked with Southwest to grant waivers for the Central America-bound flights, but the agency has not been forthcoming in answering dispatcher questions about safeguards and regulatory compliance. The agency’s lack of response to dispatchers, who are charged with FAA compliance and essentially serve as an airline’s safety officers, has become so absurd that the local union has resorted to putting a display on its Web site with the number of days without a response --20 days at the time of this release.

A letter to all dispatchers from the union’s leadership outlining problems with the El Salvador-bound flights can be found at the union’s Web site.

Flight dispatchers at Southwest and other airlines are responsible for planning and monitoring the progress of an aircraft journey. Both the pilot in command and the dispatcher are legally responsible for the safety of a flight.

FMI: www.twu550.org

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