A government report to be released in coming days says Southwest Airlines Co. LUV failed to prioritize safety and the airline’s regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, hasn’t done enough about it.

Southwest pilots flew more than 17 million passengers on planes with unconfirmed maintenance records over roughly two years, and in 2019 smashed both wingtips of a jet on a runway while repeatedly trying to land amid gale-force winds, according to the Transportation Department report, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The lapses are highlighted in a draft audit by the agency’s inspector general that also criticizes the FAA’s oversight of the carrier as lax, ineffective and inconsistent. The document indicates no agency enforcement action resulted from those safety slip-ups or certain other alleged hazards. In some cases, the report alleges, the FAA’s overall approach served to “justify continued noncompliance with safety regulations.”

Excerpt from WSJ
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