FAA Cites Improper Repairs to Southwest Planes

By JOAN LOWY | September 14, 2011

Federal regulators are proposing to fine an aircraft repair station $1.1 million for improperly performing inspections and repairs to 44 Southwest Airlines planes.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Wash., allegedly failed to perform work aimed at preventing metal fatigue in the fuselage of planes.

In April, a hole opened in the roof of a Southwest Boeing 737 with 118 people, forcing an emergency landing Yuma, Ariz. But the FAA said the plane with the hole was not among the improperly repaired 44 Boeing 737-300s.

The agency said the repair station failed to fully inspect the planes for fatigue cracks and to correctly install fasteners that hold pieces of aircraft skin in place in all the rivet holes.

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