Unapproved Parts Found On 82 Airplanes, Contractor
With a Tuesday deadline looming
large, Southwest Airlines told federal regulators Monday that
unapproved parts may have been installed on twice as many aircraft
as originally thought. The airline has suspended the maintenance
company who procured the unapproved parts from a subcontractor.
The Associated Press is reporting that if the FAA does not grant
Southwest an extension, it may be forced to ground some planes. The
airline has already replaced the suspect parts in 25 aircraft, but
says it need more time to find approved parts for the remaining
aircraft. The FAA has said the parts do not pose an immediate
safety hazard. They direct hot exhaust from the engines away from
the wings of the airplanes.
But the airline admits the parts were obtained from a company
that is not approved for work by the FAA. Southwest originally
thought 46 planes were affected, but spokeswoman Beth Harbin said
Monday further checking boosted that number to 82. "Southwest did
an exhaustive audit of the vendor, and are comfortable we've found
all the parts at issue," she said.
Without an extension of the Tuesday deadline, the FAA could
require Southwest to ground the planes, making up about 10 percent
of the airline's 373 fleet. When the problem was initially found
August 22nd, Southwest cancelled 15 flights and experienced
significant delays at many airports around the country.