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