Whistleblower: FAA permitted unsafe actions at Southwest

Rush Hour

(NewsNation) — Serious allegations have been raised about the Federal Aviation Administraion’s oversight of Southwest Airlines, highligting concerns about senior agency leadership, pilot errors and egregious aircraft saftey violations, according to a whistleblower report released Wednesday.

In a letter sent to President Joe Biden, the Department of Transportation alleges Southwest Airlines officials and union representatives resisted cooperating with investigations.

According to the letter, the FAA “….Knowingly permitted Southwest Airlines to engage in unsafe and improper actions that compromised the safety of the flying public, with limited or no repercussions.”

Other serious accusations allege that the “FAA was complicit in Southwest Airlines’ ongoing efforts to “hide” serious incidents involving pilot error in FAA’s Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) while allowing pilots to continue flying.”

The investigation goes on to note the FAA representatives often felt outnumbered and gave in to pressure.

The FAA responded to NewsNation:

“The FAA took the office of special counsel’s concerns seriously and acted quickly to adopt the recommendations that resulted from the investigation. The agency continues to work with the appropriate parties to resolve any outstanding issues.”


In response to the report, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson noted some of the incidents have already been documented, calling the complaints “years-old allegations,” and going on to say “Southwest was then and remains proud of its safety record.”

Meanwhile, airlines have been dealing with chaos leading to delays and cancellations brought on by staff shortages as demand for flights ramps up following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Additionally, American Airlines attendants have been told by their union to stop leaving each other at hotels.

“This is a disaster, Sandra Mclemore, a travel industry expert, told NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Thursday. “And it’s happening more and more. American Airlines has had flight attendants be more vocal to their union that flight attendants are being left behind at their hotels because they’re not showing up at their call time,” she continued.

The union urged flight attendants that when one of their co-workers doesn’t show up for a ride to the airport, they should at least have the front desk call the room of the missing crew member.

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