Exclusive: FAA agrees with inspector general recommendations to improve Southwest oversight

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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A number of grounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are shown parked at Victorville Airport in Victorville, California© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A number of grounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are shown parked at Victorville Airport in Victorville, California 2/2

By David Shepardson and Tracy Rucinski

(Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration says it agrees with recommendations made by the U.S. Transportation Department’s Inspector General that faulted its oversight of Southwest Airlines (NYSE:) Co, according to a final report seen by Reuters ahead of its release later this week.

The report said Southwest Airlines operated more than 150,000 flights carrying 17.2 million passengers on 88 used Boeing (NYSE:) 737 jets without confirmation that required maintenance had been completed.

The report said the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) has not “effectively overseen Southwest Airlines’ systems for managing risks.” The FAA said in a response included with the report it concurred with all 11 recommendations by the inspector general and acknowledged that its office overseeing Southwest “did not perform in accordance with existing guidance.”

Southwest told Reuters Tuesday that eight of the 88 used jets remain out of service “and are currently in heavy checks.” Southwest added it adamantly disagrees “with unsubstantiated references to Southwest’s safety culture.”

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