On 7 March 2008 (via The St. Louis Business Journal):
Southwest Airlines defended its safety and maintenance procedures Thursday after the Federal Aviation Administration announced a $10.2 million fine against Dallas-based carrier for flying uninspected airplanes.
SWA flew 42 planes that had missed FAA inspections, according to the federal agency. The FAA said it was levying the fines over that issue and because six of the SWA planes had some fatigue cracking.
Southwest said in a statement Thursday that there was never a safety problem and the oversight was rectified.
FAA: You’ve been very bad and naughty and I’m going to punish you.
SWA: Waaah! That’s not fair, you big meanies. There’s nothin’ wrong with our planes!
FAA: No, no. We have rules you know. Someone might have been hurt.
John Q. Public: Gosh, it sure is nice to see the government officials tasked with protecting our safety do their job for a change.
Reasonably sentient homo sapiens: [Smacks Mr. Public upside the head for being a dumbass.]
On 11 March 2008 (via The Dallas Morning News) we see why SWA was a little upset. See, they thought the FAA was their BFF NMW:
Officials for Southwest Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration “falsified the report” that said the airline had come into compliance with rules for crucial safety inspections for jets, according to records released by a U.S. House committee.
Shocked! I am – Oh wait. No I’m not. I’ll skip straight to wringing my hands and crying O! What could have caused such a thing. “O! What could have-?” No that’s a waste of time too because I’m a reasonably sentient h.s:
According to one of the whistle-blowers, Mr. Gawadzinski [FAA inspector who didn’t say no to crack – ed.] stopped being strict with Southwest after a former FAA colleague, Paul Comeau, joined the airline. Previously, the whistle-blower said, the FAA had forced jets needing inspections to stop flying.
At a news conference Friday, Mr. Oberstar [D-Minn -ed.] said he might propose a law prohibiting FAA inspectors from going to work for the airlines for a year or two. He also called for inspectors to be rotated between assignments “as a countermeasure against developing a cozy relationship” with airline employees.
Cue the usual noises about the free market.