DOT Office of Inspector General Opens Southwest Airlines Audit of Pilot Training

The DOT Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has release a memo announcing an audit of Southwest Airlines pilot training. A hotline complaint highlighted training complaints and questioned the airlines’ ability to identify and mitigate risks. This comes close on the heels of the April Southwest 1380 incident. Here is an excerpt from the DOT OIG memo:

“However, recent events have raised concerns about FAA’s safety oversight, particularly for Southwest Airlines, one of the largest part 121 carriers in the United States. On April 17, 2018, Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 suffered an engine failure and debris penetrated the aircraft cabin, resulting in the first U.S. passenger fatality in over 9 years. Preliminary reports indicate similarities with a previous engine incident that occurred on another Southwest Airlines aircraft during a 2016 flight, but it is unclear what actions the carrier took to manage the risk to prevent a future failure.

In addition, we recently received a hotline complaint regarding a number of operational issues at Southwest Airlines, such as alleged pilot training deficiencies, which raise concerns about FAA’s oversight of the carrier. Specifically, we are concerned whether FAA’s oversight includes an assessment of the carrier’s ability to identify hazards and analyze and mitigate risks.”

See the announcement of the audit here.

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