FAA failed to assure safety of Southwest Airlines

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FILE – In this March 23, 2019, file photo, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max aircraft lands at the Southern California Logistics Airport in the high desert town of Victorville, Calif. A lawsuit filed against Southwest Airlines by a flight attendant alleges pilots on a 2017 flight had an iPad streaming video from a hidden camera in a bathroom in one of the airline’s jets. Court filings by attorneys for Dallas-based Southwest and the two pilots denied the livestreaming allegations, and Southwest issued a brief statement Saturday, Oct. 26, saying it would not comment in detail on the suit but denied placing cameras in the lavatories in aircraft. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman, File)

(CNN) — A government report says poor Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversight allowed Southwest Airlines to put millions of lives at risk.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inspector General conducted an 18 month audit.

The audit was sparked by a whistleblower complaint about the FAA’s oversight of Southwest and a “number of” operational issues at the airline, including pilot training deficiencies and inaccurate information being provided to pilots prior to flights departing.

The report found Southwest flew 88 planes it bought from foreign carriers without properly verifying their airworthiness.

The report said those planes flew more than 150,000 flights, putting more than 17 million passengers at risk.

Southwest says it has made significant progress in addressing the issues in the report which includes enhancing the integrity of its weight and balance program.

It says all of those “used” planes have undergone a comprehensive inspection or are currently being inspected.

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