Southwest Airlines Responds To Preliminary Findings of Internal Investigation


The following statement was just issued regarding our preliminary investigations into allegations that Southwest Airlines violated FAA regulations in March 2007.

DALLAS–March 11, 2008–Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said today the airline is taking action on preliminary findings of its own internal investigation into allegations that it violated FAA regulations in March 2007.

Kelly has vowed to make any changes necessary to assure that the airline is in full compliance with FAA Airworthiness Directives and all of its own maintenance programs, policies, and procedures. 

“Upon learning last month of an investigation with respect to our handling of this inspection and an Airworthiness Directive, I immediately ordered an independent and comprehensive investigation by outside counsel,” Kelly said.

Last week, we accelerated the internal investigation after Southwest received details from the FAA’s letter of civil penalty. On March 10, Kelly was given preliminary findings from the internal investigation.

“I am concerned with some of our findings as to our controls over procedures within our maintenance airworthiness directive and regulatory compliance processes,” Kelly said. “I have insisted that we have the appropriate maintenance organizational and governance structure in place to ensure that the right decisions are being made.”

Based on those findings, Southwest has:

  • Placed three Employees on administrative leave. Those Employees are cooperating with the investigation.

  • Hired a respected outside consultant with proven experience to help review its maintenance program controls, especially Airworthiness Directive (AD) compliance.

  • Fully engaged with the FAA on its current audit of Southwest and committed to FAA leadership that it will investigate and address any deficiencies in its maintenance controls.

“These are important and necessary steps,” Kelly said. “At the same time, we are mindful that during Southwest’s 37-year proud history, we have safely transported the population of the United States-every man, woman, and child-four and a half times over. This is a fact. We have been a safe Company. I believe we are a safe Company. I am committed to making sure we become safer still.”




  1. I am a dedicated SW customer. Lov the airline and the folks that fly with me on my dozens of trips I have taken.
    With every company there are cracks in there system. It is how the company handles these cracks is what is important. Identifying the problem, fixing the problem and then dealing with the problem so that it will not happen again is what is important. I believe Southwest has taken this situation by the horns and is doing what it should to see that it does not happen again!

    So, congrats to Southwest for looking out for their customers!

  2. Southwest is committing fraud with their new awards policy. They do not really offer ANY seats for the standard award but always have seats for the upgraded award. Instead of bait and switch, why don’t they just tell their customers the amount of points needed for a ticket has doubled? Why? because then everyone would cancel their southwest credit cards and they would be out of business. Seems like what they are doing is illegal.

  3. I think swa should at the least reimburse us all

  4. How can Southwest say that they should not have had planes in the air and that passengers were not at risk in the same paragragh?
    I have made more than 30 flights with SWA. How many times was I not at risk????????????????