All Parts Must Be Replaced By December 24th, Aircraft Deemed
Safe To Fly
The FAA Tuesday approved a plan that would require Southwest
Airlines to replace unapproved parts installed on about 50 B737
airplanes and for these aircraft to undergo inspections until fixes
are made. The airline already has replaced parts on 30 other
An FAA technical review has determined that the unapproved part
would not prevent safe operation of the airplanes. The aircraft
manufacturer has made a similar determination. As a result, the FAA
has determined that the airline may continue to operate aircraft
with the unapproved part until the parts can be replaced, on the
condition that each plane must be physically inspected for wear and
tear every seven days and the affected parts must all be replaced
with an approved part by December 24.
The FAA has also directed Southwest Airlines to locate and
dispose of any other unapproved parts made by the same vendor and
to report on the results of its aircraft inspections to the FAA on
a daily basis.
The unapproved parts are associated with the hinge fittings for the
exhaust gate assembly, which help protect the aircraft flaps from
engine heat. The FAA determined on August 21 that the parts had
been installed on a number of Southwest Airlines planes. The FAA
has opened an investigation into this issue.