Southwest Airlines to pay $2.8M settlement over maintenance safety lawsuit

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Dec. 22, 2015 at 8:06 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The Department of Justice announced Southwest Airlines has agreed to pay $2.8 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the carrier violated U.S. Federal Aviation Administration safety regulations.

The lawsuit centered around the airline's maintenance of its Boeing 737s -- "as well as other pending administrative matters," the Justice Department said in a statement.

Southwest Airlines will pay a $2.8 million civil penalty and up to $5.5 million in deferred civil penalties if it does not implement agreed-upon operational changes designed to enhance oversight and control of third parties that perform maintenance on company aircraft.

"The Justice Department believes the settlement agreement with Southwest Airlines Co. will provide meaningful improvements in safety and compliance and further ensure the integrity of FAA air safety regulations," Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department's Civil Division, said in a statement.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said that "safety depends on compliance with our regulations."

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