Southwest Airlines flew more than 17 million passengers on planes with unconfirmed maintenance records over a roughly two year period, according to a draft government report reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
The Transportation Department’s report followed an 18-month audit and implicates the Federal Aviation Administration for allowing Southwest to “fly aircraft with unresolved safety concerns.”
A Southwest spokeswoman told the Journal the airline has reviewed the draft and strongly disagrees with “unsubstantiated references to Southwest’s Safety Culture.” She added, “Our friends, our families board our aircraft and not a single one of us would put anything above their safety.”
The FAA told the newspaper it would respond directly to the Office of Inspector General.
The report is the latest public embarrassment for the FAA following two high-profile crashes involving Boeing’s 737 Max, which have been grounded. Some have blamed the crashes on inadequate FAA oversight of Boeing.