US aviation authorities launched plans Tuesday to inspect the maintenance records of all domestic airlines to ensure they are complying with safety regulations. ( dpa )
The Federal Aviation Administration announced the move one week after slapping low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines with a record 10.2-million-dollar fine for failing to comply with orders to check the fuselages of its Boeing 737 aircraft for possible cracks.
The acting director of the FAA, Robert Sturgell, said Southwest's recent failure to follow orders prompted his decision to ensure all airlines are in compliance with federal directives.
"While the data tell us flying is safer than ever, prudence dictates we take this additional precaution and conduct a special emphasis review," Sturgell said.
The FAA will initially carry out inspections of maintenance records for all airlines to ensure they have complied with 10 safety directives by March 28 and will then audit 10 per cent of all directives issued by June 30, said Les Dorr, a spokesman for the agency.
Dorr described the order as a "spot check to sample other airlines to make sure that they are on track."