The Business Times

FAA probes Southwest over baggage weight discrepancies

Published Tue, Feb 19, 2019 · 09:50 PM
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THE US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating Southwest Airlines Co for widespread failure to accurately track the combined weight of checked bags loaded onto its jets, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The US aviation safety agency's year-long civil probe found systemic and significant mistakes with employee calculations and luggage-loading practices, resulting in potential discrepancies when pilots compute takeoff weights, the Journal reported, citing government officials and internal agency documents. The FAA has not decided whether to impose fines or any other punishment, the report cited people familiar with the investigation as saying.

The inaccuracies ranged from a few dozen kilograms to more than 450 kg in excess of what the paperwork indicated, sparking disputes between the company and some agency inspectors about potential safety consequences, the report said.

A company spokeswoman said there was an open Letter of Investigation (LOI), which is a common mechanism for the FAA to document and share safety interests or concerns with an airline. She said: "In this case, the LOI addresses an issue that Southwest voluntarily reported to the FAA last year and since that time, Southwest has implemented controls to address weight and balance programme concerns, and shared those measures with the FAA." REUTERS

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