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Whistle-blower points to Southwest again [04/05/2008]

Whistle-blower points to Southwest again

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Federal Aviation Administration whistle-blower Bobby Boutris told the U.S. House Friday that Southwest Airlines missed a required rudder inspection last year.

The report came on the heels of a controversy that resulted in a $10.2 million FAA fine for Southwest in March. The fine was levied for continuing to fly planes that had missed fuselage inspections.

Disclosure of that problem lead to allegations by Boutris that FAA supervisors had allowed Southwest to get away with inspection lapses by failing to ground the uninspected planes.

Boutris told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee he would have caught the rudder problem had he been allowed to pursue the matter.

Boutris, who has applied for whistle-blower status, also alleges that FAA management told him not to pursue an earlier investigation of the airline.

Allegedly, the airline then disclosed its inspection lapses in March 2007, pre-empting any investigation, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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