February 12, 2020

Chairs DeFazio, Larsen Statement on Southwest Airlines Safety Oversight Report

Washington, D.C. — Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen (D-WA) issued the following statements regarding the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General report on FAA’s safety oversight of Southwest Airlines.

“The Inspector General’s report not only paints a disturbing picture of the safety culture at Southwest Airlines, but it also raises serious questions about the FAA’s ability to properly oversee an airline into which millions of people put their trust each time they step onboard. Safety must always be the priority for anyone involved in our civil aviation system. While I’m encouraged the FAA plans to adopt all eleven of the IG’s recommendations, as the Chair of the Committee with jurisdiction over the FAA, I will be following this matter closely to ensure FAA makes the necessary changes as soon as possible and ensures the highest measure of safety at every level. The flying public deserves nothing less,” said Chair DeFazio.

“The Inspector General’s report makes clear Southwest Airlines and the FAA failed to ensure the safety of the traveling public,” said Chair Larsen. “While I commend the FAA for agreeing to adopt the IG’s 11 safety recommendations, I am concerned about FAA’s lack of oversight of Southwest’s operations and a persisting culture of unsafe practices at Southwest Airlines. The safety of the more than 4.5 billion people who travel by air each year must remain the top priority of the aviation industry, the administration and Congress.”