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kiowa
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Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:07 am

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/south ... =bigcharts

Even though I will not fly Southwest, I find this very creative on their part to pay the FAA to come to work during their shutdown. It sounds like Southwest unions are upset as well as other airlines who were refused the same service by the FAA.
 
IPFreely
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:48 am

It sounds like other airlines weren't proactive like Southwest about negotiating for this before the shutdown. Kudos to Southwest for thinking outside the box and getting stuff done. They were busy improvising, adapting, and overcoming while other airlines were busy making excuses.
 
AWACSooner
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:50 am

IPFreely wrote:
It sounds like other airlines weren't proactive like Southwest about negotiating for this before the shutdown. Kudos to Southwest for thinking outside the box and getting stuff done. They were busy improvising, adapting, and overcoming while other airlines were busy making excuses.

Just like they did last decade with the fuel hedging...but that didn't stop AArpey from calling it unfair.
 
mtnwest1979
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:58 am

Doesn't seem to be the SWA union that is ticked, since it would have nothing to do with any of them. This seems to be a union of the actual FAA folks who are out there doing this job. Correct me if misinformed.
Riddle: Which lasts longer, a start-up airline or a start-up football league?
 
FlyBitcoin
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:59 am

Southwest was not the only one. The article states that Delta also tried to facilitate the completion of the A220 certification but was told that was too complex...

Delta Air Lines Inc. postponed until Feb. 7 the debut of four new Airbus SE A220 aircraft because FAA inspectors weren't available to officially add them to the carrier's fleet, the company said. Agency officials had determined the extent of that effort would have exceeded the simple work performed for Southwest, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Delta postponement came as airline officials explored whether they could find a way to fund the FAA inspectors' work but the carrier ultimately didn't pursue the option because it entailed legal and regulatory questions, a person familiar with the matter said.
 
Confuscius
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:03 am

Could there be conflict-of-interest issue with Southwest paying for FAA inspectors?
Ain't I a stinker?
 
727200
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:05 am

No issue with SW doing this while the other airlines were asleep at the wheel.

The question then becomes, if the FAA did this for only one carrier, is favoritism showing?
 
FlyBitcoin
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:12 am

Doubt any favoritism. What DL was asking for was the certificate for a new aircraft type never flown by a US carrier.
SW just wanted three new frames put into service.

And the end of the article states that requests from other airlines were also honored later during the shutdown.

Is it a conflict of interest when a church or fast-food restaurant pays an off-duty police officer to direct traffic outside their establishment?
 
Dreamflight767
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:51 am

The real question is...
Since the inspectors are getting back pay, will they have to give the $ they earned from WN back?
 
Aptivaboy
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:42 am

That's a great question. It probably depends upon who actually cut the check. I'm sure that SW didn't directly pay the FAA folks as that would have been a conflict of interest and almost certainly illegal. So, did SW pay the FAA who then paid the inspector directly? The story isn't detailed enough to really say.
 
lawair
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:57 am

Normally this would seem to be a conflict of interest. Southwest effectively paid a government agency to issue an approval or decision. That could create the appearance of bias on the part of the government decision-maker, or at worst look like a bribe. I think the FAA must've reasoned that all of the work was already done while the government was running in this case, and the only thing left was the paperwork, which Southwest paid to have done. I suppose that made things look better, if that's really what the case was.
 
Gemuser
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:51 am

I assume the aircraft were just more examples of B737 that SWA already operate. In this case does it really require an FAA person's approval to put it into service??? Unbelievable!
In Australia airlines "with the appropriate approval" can issue both a certificate of airworthiness and a certificate of registration to put an aircraft into service under delegation from the Minister, unless the aircraft is a First of Type in which case CASA involvement is required, so Delta would have been out of luck with the A220 The paperwork is filed with CASA post fact. QF certainly have such approval and have done so since the 1970s, at least and I assume, but do not know, that VA has it too.

Gemuser
 
nws2002
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:21 pm

Gemuser wrote:
I assume the aircraft were just more examples of B737 that SWA already operate. In this case does it really require an FAA person's approval to put it into service??? Unbelievable!
In Australia airlines "with the appropriate approval" can issue both a certificate of airworthiness and a certificate of registration to put an aircraft into service under delegation from the Minister, unless the aircraft is a First of Type in which case CASA involvement is required, so Delta would have been out of luck with the A220 The paperwork is filed with CASA post fact. QF certainly have such approval and have done so since the 1970s, at least and I assume, but do not know, that VA has it too.

Gemuser


Yes, each aircraft is listed on the carrier Operation Specifications by serial number. Any change to the OpSpecs requires both an air carrier digital signature and an FAA digital signature. Generally when adding an aircraft of the same type, the airline completed the conformity inspection and the FAA will just sign the OpSpec and review the records as part of their normal surveillance. Sometimes though, depending on the aircraft's history or randomly, the FAA will want to conduct a conformity inspection of the aircraft before allowing it into service.
 
Brickell305
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:25 pm

FlyBitcoin wrote:
Doubt any favoritism. What DL was asking for was the certificate for a new aircraft type never flown by a US carrier.
SW just wanted three new frames put into service.

And the end of the article states that requests from other airlines were also honored later during the shutdown.

Is it a conflict of interest when a church or fast-food restaurant pays an off-duty police officer to direct traffic outside their establishment?


Well in those instances, the church or fast food restaurant wouldn't be getting regulated by the police officer which is the clear and obvious difference.
 
IPFreely
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:37 pm

lawair wrote:
Southwest effectively paid a government agency to issue an approval or decision.


All of the FAA’s approvals and decisions are paid for by Southwest and other airlines. The FAA’s funding comes from taxes that are mostly paid by the airlines, with tax on aviation fuel probably being the largest single source of funding.
 
airzona11
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:55 pm

IPFreely wrote:
lawair wrote:
Southwest effectively paid a government agency to issue an approval or decision.


All of the FAA’s approvals and decisions are paid for by Southwest and other airlines. The FAA’s funding comes from taxes that are mostly paid by the airlines, with tax on aviation fuel probably being the largest single source of funding.


Great explanation. You can spin this all you want, this is not bribery, as others might insinuate. Southwest needs the FAA to run their business and made the decision to spend money to ensure they continued to operate as close to planned as possible. Smart business decision.
 
lawair
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:12 pm

IPFreely wrote:
lawair wrote:
Southwest effectively paid a government agency to issue an approval or decision.


All of the FAA’s approvals and decisions are paid for by Southwest and other airlines. The FAA’s funding comes from taxes that are mostly paid by the airlines, with tax on aviation fuel probably being the largest single source of funding.


Depending on how this was set up, another way of looking at this is that an airline was policing itself by employing its own regulators. I'm actually not bothered too much by this decision because the arrangement was for a routine circumstance and short in duration. I would have problems if this were a permanent arrangement where inspectors are effectively employed by the airlines. For an airline like Southwest with which the FAA has a history of agency capture, this situation would give me pause from the point of view of the government. Southwest is fine but the optics for the government is what is raising some eyebrows here and in the media.

Regarding the tax question, inspections are paid for through general appropriations to the FAA, not aviation taxes as far as I'm aware. If they were paid for by taxes from airlines, then the inspections would not have been interrupted by a lapse in FAA appropriations (inspectors would've been paid), and we wouldn't even be discussing this issue. Some fees go to other FAA functions, like the airport improvement funds, but that's not what we're discussing and I don't think they were affected by the shutdown. Also we're not talking about fees or taxes that go toward a general fund or a general purpose here. We're taking about payments being made to a government agency to pay for or effectuate a particular action that only affects (benefits) the payer.
 
friendlyskies22
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:01 pm

Take a look at:
18 U.S. Code § 201. Bribery of public officials and witnesses
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:20 pm

lawair wrote:
Normally this would seem to be a conflict of interest. Southwest effectively paid a government agency to issue an approval or decision. That could create the appearance of bias on the part of the government decision-maker, or at worst look like a bribe. I think the FAA must've reasoned that all of the work was already done while the government was running in this case, and the only thing left was the paperwork, which Southwest paid to have done. I suppose that made things look better, if that's really what the case was.


There have been problems of carriers and FAA inspectors being cozy.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/dot-watchd ... 1529544638

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... afety-tips

I think Delta's interpretation - that there were 'issues' in paying inspectors during the shutdown - was correct.
 
SteelChair
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:27 pm

Rumors for years about media darling Southwest being too cozy with their local FAA Inspectors.
 
smartplane
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:41 pm

friendlyskies22 wrote:
Take a look at:
18 U.S. Code § 201. Bribery of public officials and witnesses

Correct. Most countries have the same or similar. Also an ISO standard.

In this instance, does appear to be housekeeping in nature. Where it would get messy, is if the airline issued instructions (behaving like an employer). For example, only work for our airline, and not for competitors, or specific type of work - only what we instruct - don't investigate possible breaches or complaints.
 
INFINITI329
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:09 pm

Due to the ongoing investigation between the FAA and Southwest, FAA brass should have declined this. The fact of this offer wasn't extended to other carriers in similar positions will add fuel to the favoritism fire. The Office of Special Counsel will probably keep an ear to this story.
 
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usxguy
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:13 pm

Dreamflight767 wrote:
The real question is...
Since the inspectors are getting back pay, will they have to give the $ they earned from WN back?


Only employees who actually *worked* during the shut down get paid. Those who were laid off/furloughed, called out sick, out on leave (medical, FMLA, vacation) get nada.
xx
 
PPVRA
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:18 pm

Not an issue if they’re paying them for such a short timeframe and this is made public.

Long term, hiding money, etc, then it looks bad.

Southwest just didn’t want their stuff to stall over this shutdown.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
ScottB
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:30 pm

lawair wrote:
Normally this would seem to be a conflict of interest. Southwest effectively paid a government agency to issue an approval or decision. That could create the appearance of bias on the part of the government decision-maker, or at worst look like a bribe. I think the FAA must've reasoned that all of the work was already done while the government was running in this case, and the only thing left was the paperwork, which Southwest paid to have done. I suppose that made things look better, if that's really what the case was.


I'm not so sure that's true unless they were paying for an approval which was a foregone conclusion regardless of whether the paperwork and/or inspection passed muster. Paying for a decision isn't a conflict of interest if the airline wasn't dictating the decision; i.e. they were paying regardless of whether the result was an approval or a rejection.

SteelChair wrote:
Rumors for years about media darling Southwest being too cozy with their local FAA Inspectors.


Except, apparently the decision to allow Southwest to pay for the administrative work came from senior officials and not the local office.
 
lawair
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:02 pm

ScottB wrote:
lawair wrote:
Normally this would seem to be a conflict of interest. Southwest effectively paid a government agency to issue an approval or decision. That could create the appearance of bias on the part of the government decision-maker, or at worst look like a bribe. I think the FAA must've reasoned that all of the work was already done while the government was running in this case, and the only thing left was the paperwork, which Southwest paid to have done. I suppose that made things look better, if that's really what the case was.


I'm not so sure that's true unless they were paying for an approval which was a foregone conclusion regardless of whether the paperwork and/or inspection passed muster. Paying for a decision isn't a conflict of interest if the airline wasn't dictating the decision; i.e. they were paying regardless of whether the result was an approval or a rejection.


There are other ethical concerns that are raised in a situation like this. (I don't want to limit my discussion to bribery because the case for bribery is too remote based on what we know.) I said earlier that appearances are problematic. If this were a new airline and the new airline paid part of the salaries of the FAA inspectors in charge of the new airline's certification process, that would create the appearance of bias. (Will the FAA inspectors deny certification or be as careful in the process, knowing that part of their paycheck was coming from the applicant?) This situation doesn't rise to that level, but Southwest's history with the FAA raises some concern as context to what happened here. What if inspectors become more friendly toward future decisions involving Southwest if the airline promises to keep funding their salaries during government shutdowns? Can inspectors remain neutral in every decision involving Southwest, if Southwest offers to cover inspector salaries during future shutdowns, or, in the alternative, threatens to not pay inspectors? What message does this send to competitors if they want their processes sped up? (Will this encourage the use of grease money)? Can you pay to jump in line? The problematic appearances here are mainly with the FAA. Southwest probably was just being creative here, but that's based on the facts we know.
 
JHwk
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:19 pm

usxguy wrote:
Only employees who actually *worked* during the shut down get paid. Those who were laid off/furloughed, called out sick, out on leave (medical, FMLA, vacation) get nada.


The only people that don't get paid are contractors and people that had scheduled leave-without-pay during the shutdown. Everybody else is paid even if they were told to not come to work.
 
airplaneboy
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:33 pm

lawair wrote:
ScottB wrote:
lawair wrote:
Normally this would seem to be a conflict of interest. Southwest effectively paid a government agency to issue an approval or decision. That could create the appearance of bias on the part of the government decision-maker, or at worst look like a bribe. I think the FAA must've reasoned that all of the work was already done while the government was running in this case, and the only thing left was the paperwork, which Southwest paid to have done. I suppose that made things look better, if that's really what the case was.


I'm not so sure that's true unless they were paying for an approval which was a foregone conclusion regardless of whether the paperwork and/or inspection passed muster. Paying for a decision isn't a conflict of interest if the airline wasn't dictating the decision; i.e. they were paying regardless of whether the result was an approval or a rejection.


There are other ethical concerns that are raised in a situation like this. (I don't want to limit my discussion to bribery because the case for bribery is too remote based on what we know.) I said earlier that appearances are problematic. If this were a new airline and the new airline paid part of the salaries of the FAA inspectors in charge of the new airline's certification process, that would create the appearance of bias. (Will the FAA inspectors deny certification or be as careful in the process, knowing that part of their paycheck was coming from the applicant?) This situation doesn't rise to that level, but Southwest's history with the FAA raises some concern as context to what happened here. What if inspectors become more friendly toward future decisions involving Southwest if the airline promises to keep funding their salaries during government shutdowns? Can inspectors remain neutral in every decision involving Southwest, if Southwest offers to cover inspector salaries during future shutdowns, or, in the alternative, threatens to not pay inspectors? What message does this send to competitors if they want their processes sped up? (Will this encourage the use of grease money)? Can you pay to jump in line? The problematic appearances here are mainly with the FAA. Southwest probably was just being creative here, but that's based on the facts we know.


For those not in the know, myself included- what is it about the history of the relationship between Southwest and the FAA? Is this strictly insider knowledge?
 
lawair
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:31 pm

airplaneboy wrote:
lawair wrote:
ScottB wrote:

I'm not so sure that's true unless they were paying for an approval which was a foregone conclusion regardless of whether the paperwork and/or inspection passed muster. Paying for a decision isn't a conflict of interest if the airline wasn't dictating the decision; i.e. they were paying regardless of whether the result was an approval or a rejection.


There are other ethical concerns that are raised in a situation like this. (I don't want to limit my discussion to bribery because the case for bribery is too remote based on what we know.) I said earlier that appearances are problematic. If this were a new airline and the new airline paid part of the salaries of the FAA inspectors in charge of the new airline's certification process, that would create the appearance of bias. (Will the FAA inspectors deny certification or be as careful in the process, knowing that part of their paycheck was coming from the applicant?) This situation doesn't rise to that level, but Southwest's history with the FAA raises some concern as context to what happened here. What if inspectors become more friendly toward future decisions involving Southwest if the airline promises to keep funding their salaries during government shutdowns? Can inspectors remain neutral in every decision involving Southwest, if Southwest offers to cover inspector salaries during future shutdowns, or, in the alternative, threatens to not pay inspectors? What message does this send to competitors if they want their processes sped up? (Will this encourage the use of grease money)? Can you pay to jump in line? The problematic appearances here are mainly with the FAA. Southwest probably was just being creative here, but that's based on the facts we know.


For those not in the know, myself included- what is it about the history of the relationship between Southwest and the FAA? Is this strictly insider knowledge?


There are a number of articles over the years about the potential that the FAA was too close to Southwest in overseeing the airline's safety program. The DOT's Office of Inspector General recently initiated an audit of the FAA's oversight of Southwest after the engine failure incident. https://flightsafety.org/inspector-gene ... -airlines/ Prior to that, there were already concerns in the mid 2000s that the FAA was too cozy with Southwest and allowed problems to be ignored, which eventually led to Congress attempting to change rules on employment. https://www.wired.com/2008/03/congress-faa-an/ and https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... regulators
and https://www.latimes.com/travel/la-trw-a ... story.html

Here's a statement from DOT OIG in 2008: https://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/default/f ... ON_SWA.pdf

Here's a summary from the Wikipedia article on "Regulatory Capture":

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has a dual-mandate both to promote aviation and to regulate its safety. A report by the Department of Transportation that found FAA managers had allowed Southwest Airlines to fly 46 airplanes in 2006 and 2007 that were overdue for safety inspections, ignoring concerns raised by inspectors. Audits of other airlines resulted in two airlines grounding hundreds of planes, causing thousands of flight cancellations.[32] The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee investigated the matter after two FAA whistleblowers, inspectors Charalambe "Bobby" Boutris and Douglas E. Peters, contacted them. Boutris said he attempted to ground Southwest after finding cracks in the fuselage, but was prevented by supervisors he said were friendly with the airline.[33] The committee subsequently held hearings in April 2008. James Oberstar, former chairman of the committee said its investigation uncovered a pattern of regulatory abuse and widespread regulatory lapses, allowing 117 aircraft to be operated commercially although not in compliance with FAA safety rules.[33] Oberstar said there was a "culture of coziness" between senior FAA officials and the airlines and "a systematic breakdown" in the FAA's culture that resulted in "malfeasance, bordering on corruption."[33]

On July 22, 2008, a bill was unanimously approved in the House to tighten regulations concerning airplane maintenance procedures, including the establishment of a whistleblower office and a two-year "cooling off" period that FAA inspectors or supervisors of inspectors must wait before they can work for those they regulated.[32][34] The bill also required rotation of principal maintenance inspectors and stipulated that the word "customer" properly applies to the flying public, not those entities regulated by the FAA.[32] The bill died in a Senate committee that year.[35] In 2008 the FAA proposed to fine Southwest $10.2 million for failing to inspect older planes for cracks,[36] and in 2009 Southwest and the FAA agreed that Southwest would pay a $7.5 million penalty and would adapt new safety procedures, with the fine doubling if Southwest failed to follow through.[37] In September 2009, the FAA administrator issued a directive mandating that the agency use the term "customers" only to refer to the flying public.[38]

Prior to the deregulation of the US air industry, the Civil Aeronautics Board served to maintain an oligopoly of US airlines.[39][40]

In a June 2010 article on regulatory capture, the FAA was cited as an example of "old-style" regulatory capture, "in which the airline industry openly dictates to its regulators its governing rules, arranging for not only beneficial regulation but placing key people to head these regulators."[41]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture
 
INFINITI329
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:36 pm

airplaneboy wrote:
lawair wrote:
ScottB wrote:

I'm not so sure that's true unless they were paying for an approval which was a foregone conclusion regardless of whether the paperwork and/or inspection passed muster. Paying for a decision isn't a conflict of interest if the airline wasn't dictating the decision; i.e. they were paying regardless of whether the result was an approval or a rejection.


There are other ethical concerns that are raised in a situation like this. (I don't want to limit my discussion to bribery because the case for bribery is too remote based on what we know.) I said earlier that appearances are problematic. If this were a new airline and the new airline paid part of the salaries of the FAA inspectors in charge of the new airline's certification process, that would create the appearance of bias. (Will the FAA inspectors deny certification or be as careful in the process, knowing that part of their paycheck was coming from the applicant?) This situation doesn't rise to that level, but Southwest's history with the FAA raises some concern as context to what happened here. What if inspectors become more friendly toward future decisions involving Southwest if the airline promises to keep funding their salaries during government shutdowns? Can inspectors remain neutral in every decision involving Southwest, if Southwest offers to cover inspector salaries during future shutdowns, or, in the alternative, threatens to not pay inspectors? What message does this send to competitors if they want their processes sped up? (Will this encourage the use of grease money)? Can you pay to jump in line? The problematic appearances here are mainly with the FAA. Southwest probably was just being creative here, but that's based on the facts we know.


For those not in the know, myself included- what is it about the history of the relationship between Southwest and the FAA? Is this strictly insider knowledge?


I beleive this is the gist of it

https://publicintegrity.org/federal-pol ... -airlines/
 
Dreamflight767
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:39 pm

usxguy wrote:
Dreamflight767 wrote:
The real question is...
Since the inspectors are getting back pay, will they have to give the $ they earned from WN back?


Only employees who actually *worked* during the shut down get paid. Those who were laid off/furloughed, called out sick, out on leave (medical, FMLA, vacation) get nada.


Sorry, that is incorrect. ALL federal employees are receiving back-pay, regardless if they worked or not.
 
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RWA380
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:00 am

FlyBitcoin wrote:
Doubt any favoritism. What DL was asking for was the certificate for a new aircraft type never flown by a US carrier.
SW just wanted three new frames put into service.

And the end of the article states that requests from other airlines were also honored later during the shutdown.

Is it a conflict of interest when a church or fast-food restaurant pays an off-duty police officer to direct traffic outside their establishment?


My cousin is a Law Enforcement officer & the big difference is, when he ever has done off duty work, he is not representing the County that employes him & those opportunities are open to all that wish to participate.

While the FAA representatives are still representing the Government.
707 717 720 727-1/2 737-1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 747-1/2/3/4 757-2/3 767-2/3/4 777-2/3 DC8 DC9 MD80/2/7/8 D10-1/3/4 M11 L10-1/2/5 A300/310/320
AA AC AQ AS BA BD BN CO CS DL EA EZ HA HG HP KL KN MP MW NK NW OZ PA PS QX RC RH RW SA TG TW UA US VS WA WC WN WP YS 8M
 
ctrabs0114
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:54 pm

727200 wrote:
No issue with SW doing this while the other airlines were asleep at the wheel.

The question then becomes, if the FAA did this for only one carrier, is favoritism showing?


We don't know whether or not AA, UA, B6, etc. made similar overtures to the FAA. I would argue there's no conflict if other airlines failed to make similar requests.
2019: DAL, MCI, PHX, LAS, DFW, SAT, ORD, SLC, SEA, DTW, PHL, MIA, LAX; B73G (WN x3), B738 (WN, AA, DL), A20N (NK), MD83 (AA), B788 (AA x2), CS1 (DL), B739 (DL), B712 (DL), B752 (AA), B763 (AA), B77W (AA), B789 (AA)
Next: TBA
 
ctrabs0114
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Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:05 pm

FlyBitcoin wrote:
Is it a conflict of interest when a church or fast-food restaurant pays an off-duty police officer to direct traffic outside their establishment?


The church or restaurant isn't paying the officer directly; they're paying the law enforcement agency.

As an example, I work at one of the Amazon fulfillment centers near DFW. We had a detail of Coppell police (along with a Grapevine police officer, since our building literally straddles the city line - and for that matter, the Dallas/Tarrant county line) to direct traffic entering and exiting our complex during shift changes. As I understand it, the company reimburses the City of Coppell (and, I'd suspect Grapevine as well) for the hours the officers were directing traffic.

Each city police department and/or county sheriff's office has a specific policy regarding off-duty overtime details, which can range from traffic control to additional uniform security at busier bars or restaurants (this was quite common in Pittsburgh's heavier trafficked nightlife districts). For me, I don't have too much of an issue since the financial burden for the extra details are taken by the business as opposed to the taxpayers.

That's not to say that there isn't the occasional controversy involving such details, but it is, in my opinion, a benefit to taxpayers.

Apologies for taking this off topic, but I was using this post to draw a comparison to the original topic.
2019: DAL, MCI, PHX, LAS, DFW, SAT, ORD, SLC, SEA, DTW, PHL, MIA, LAX; B73G (WN x3), B738 (WN, AA, DL), A20N (NK), MD83 (AA), B788 (AA x2), CS1 (DL), B739 (DL), B712 (DL), B752 (AA), B763 (AA), B77W (AA), B789 (AA)
Next: TBA
 
USAirKid
Posts: 645
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:42 am

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:00 pm

ctrabs0114 wrote:
FlyBitcoin wrote:
Is it a conflict of interest when a church or fast-food restaurant pays an off-duty police officer to direct traffic outside their establishment?


The church or restaurant isn't paying the officer directly; they're paying the law enforcement agency.


This varies by jurisdiction. In Seattle, off duty police officers were hired and paid through a private company. Now those officers are hired through the city.

One of the strengths of the US is the various ways government operates across the land.
 
User avatar
NameOmitted
Posts: 885
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2016 7:59 pm

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:21 pm

There is another issue here, and that is equal protection under the law, per the 14th Amendment.

If a company who pays more money for quicker government oversight can bring their product to market faster then their competition, is that unequal protection?

If a private company can hire off-duty cops to wear the uniform that conveys the government's specific authority, are they effectively paying for unequal protection?

If I pay more money for airline ticket, therefore get on the short line at TSA, am I paying for better access?
 
sccutler
Posts: 5839
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 12:16 pm

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:25 pm

Shark, jumped.

There is no rational equal protection argument here, nor is there any ethical issue, unless it can be shown that FAA inspectors are applying a less-stringent standard.

And, that ain't happening.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
barney captain
Posts: 2350
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2001 5:47 pm

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:42 pm

Much ado about nothing -

Southwest asked the FAA if new aircraft scheduled for delivery prior to the government closing could be added to our Operations Specification, even if the government was closed. After reviewing our request, the FAA informed Southwest that the administrative task to accommodate three aircraft could be accomplished. The aircraft were added to our Operations Specification in late December.

Finally, Southwest offered to reimburse the government for any administrative costs that the FAA incurred while performing the task during the government shutdown. Despite the dramatic headline, the FAA routinely enters into such reimbursable agreements for different tasks with airlines. This is not unusual.
Southeast Of Disorder
 
Bradin
Posts: 359
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:12 am

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:20 pm

If some A.net folks want to raise pitchforks and cry foul for much about nothing, let's go get a copy of the contract.

Then we can see in complete transparency what the terms/conditions are.

Also here's the original WSJ article: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/southwes ... 00505.html

AA also did something similar later on.
 
ikramerica
Posts: 15100
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:04 pm

NameOmitted wrote:
There is another issue here, and that is equal protection under the law, per the 14th Amendment.

If a company who pays more money for quicker government oversight can bring their product to market faster then their competition, is that unequal protection?

If a private company can hire off-duty cops to wear the uniform that conveys the government's specific authority, are they effectively paying for unequal protection?

If I pay more money for airline ticket, therefore get on the short line at TSA, am I paying for better access?

If I pay a surcharge for express building plan review, I go to the head of the line. Los Angeles, Glendale, many other cities.

And you are often required to pay for a third party deputy inspector yourself to observe various construction steps as they happen. Is this a conflict? They have been deputized, but that is via a license.

Government oversight is a tricky game.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
davidjohnson6
Posts: 866
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:10 pm

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:57 pm

It is worth noting that law is generally written for the 95% of the time when things operate normally. Making law effective (ie not being an ass) for the 5% of the time when something non-standard occurs outside the control of the people directly involved is a much harder task and not always achieved.

When something unusual happens (eg Govt shutdown) the FAA and airlines have to be pragmatic. Ultimately, what was in the interests of the citizens of the USA ? I would suggest that the FAA acting as a caretaker to handle routine work in the short term is the right thing to do.
 
KUZAWU08
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:14 am

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:39 pm

Confuscius wrote:
Could there be conflict-of-interest issue with Southwest paying for FAA inspectors?


Airman as asked by the FAA to pay out of their own pocket USD$2-400 for checkrides and verbal examinations to Designated Pilot Examiners. That's excluding logistical fees for equipment rental/ fuel, etc. Additionally, Pilots pay around USD $100 and up for regularly scheduled FAA medical examinations to keep their certificate. In a way I think this is a zoomed out version of the same thing, thus not really a conflict of interest... just yet another expense for their operation.
 
kiowa
Topic Author
Posts: 752
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:37 am

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:23 am

KUZAWU08 wrote:
Confuscius wrote:
Could there be conflict-of-interest issue with Southwest paying for FAA inspectors?


Airman as asked by the FAA to pay out of their own pocket USD$2-400 for checkrides and verbal examinations to Designated Pilot Examiners. That's excluding logistical fees for equipment rental/ fuel, etc. Additionally, Pilots pay around USD $100 and up for regularly scheduled FAA medical examinations to keep their certificate. In a way I think this is a zoomed out version of the same thing, thus not really a conflict of interest... just yet another expense for their operation.


perhaps, but the services were only approved for southwest. all other airlines were denied similar services and that is were the issue is.
 
Bradin
Posts: 359
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:12 am

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:41 am

kiowa wrote:
KUZAWU08 wrote:
Confuscius wrote:
Could there be conflict-of-interest issue with Southwest paying for FAA inspectors?


Airman as asked by the FAA to pay out of their own pocket USD$2-400 for checkrides and verbal examinations to Designated Pilot Examiners. That's excluding logistical fees for equipment rental/ fuel, etc. Additionally, Pilots pay around USD $100 and up for regularly scheduled FAA medical examinations to keep their certificate. In a way I think this is a zoomed out version of the same thing, thus not really a conflict of interest... just yet another expense for their operation.


perhaps, but the services were only approved for southwest. all other airlines were denied similar services and that is were the issue is.


Per WSJ article:

During later phases of the partial federal shutdown, American Airlines Group Inc. was able to add four new aircraft to its officially registered fleet. But unlike Southwest, American said it didn’t agree to reimburse the FAA.
 
OB1504
Posts: 3966
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:10 am

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:55 am

ctrabs0114 wrote:
727200 wrote:
No issue with SW doing this while the other airlines were asleep at the wheel.

The question then becomes, if the FAA did this for only one carrier, is favoritism showing?


We don't know whether or not AA, UA, B6, etc. made similar overtures to the FAA. I would argue there's no conflict if other airlines failed to make similar requests.


AA also got 2 newly delivered aircraft into service during the shutdown, so they have to have worked something out with the FAA as well.
 
strfyr51
Posts: 4993
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:04 pm

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:06 am

Confuscius wrote:
Could there be conflict-of-interest issue with Southwest paying for FAA inspectors?

An Appearance of a conflict? Yes!
 
WayexTDI
Posts: 1771
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:54 pm

Can someone summarize what WN really paid for? Seems a lot of conflicting information out there.

If WN paid the regular fee, or an expedite fee if it exists, then there cannot be a conflict of interest as the fees are well documented and would have had to be paid anyway.

However, if WN offered to pay the salary of the FAA inspectors due to the shutdown, as noble as the intent is, that's where the potential conflict of interest could appear.
I do not believe a second WN tried to bribe the inspectors; but, if it was the case, paying the inspectors salary so they can sign off WN planes could be seen as an attempt to bribe them (I'll pay your salary, you sign off my planes; you don't want to sign off my planes, no salary for you).
 
Dreamflight767
Posts: 494
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:43 pm

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:10 pm

Why didn't WN pay TSA and Controller salaries who were (are) required to work during shutdown?
 
Bradin
Posts: 359
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:12 am

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:17 pm

WayexTDI wrote:
Can someone summarize what WN really paid for? Seems a lot of conflicting information out there.

If WN paid the regular fee, or an expedite fee if it exists, then there cannot be a conflict of interest as the fees are well documented and would have had to be paid anyway.

However, if WN offered to pay the salary of the FAA inspectors due to the shutdown, as noble as the intent is, that's where the potential conflict of interest could appear.
I do not believe a second WN tried to bribe the inspectors; but, if it was the case, paying the inspectors salary so they can sign off WN planes could be seen as an attempt to bribe them (I'll pay your salary, you sign off my planes; you don't want to sign off my planes, no salary for you).


It's my understanding that in anticipation of the government shutdown, Southwest Lawyers and FAA lawyers entered into negotiations and reached a contract agreement that reasonable costs associated with certifying a few aircraft into service will be reimbursed by the FAA.

It's also my understanding that FAA dispatches inspectors, an office administrator, charges the time, and then the FAA pays the inspector and office administrator. Given they have no "real budget" or "money" at the moment, the FAA invoices Southwest for those costs.

Is it bribery? No. Optics issue? Possibly.

However remember at the time of negotiations, the US Government was still open, and no one envisioned we would have one of the longest federal government shutdowns in history. Probably all sides didn't envision this happening, and it was a God-send to those FAA employees who had a little cash flow. However demoralizing the shutdown was, it provided a bit of hope, a little bit of cash to some furloughed government employees. My hope is that given this was the only action item on an inspector's to do list, they may as well be extra hard during the inspection process.
 
kiowa
Topic Author
Posts: 752
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:37 am

Re: Southwest paid for FAA inspectors during shutdown

Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:56 pm

Bradin wrote:
WayexTDI wrote:
Can someone summarize what WN really paid for? Seems a lot of conflicting information out there.

If WN paid the regular fee, or an expedite fee if it exists, then there cannot be a conflict of interest as the fees are well documented and would have had to be paid anyway.

However, if WN offered to pay the salary of the FAA inspectors due to the shutdown, as noble as the intent is, that's where the potential conflict of interest could appear.
I do not believe a second WN tried to bribe the inspectors; but, if it was the case, paying the inspectors salary so they can sign off WN planes could be seen as an attempt to bribe them (I'll pay your salary, you sign off my planes; you don't want to sign off my planes, no salary for you).


It's my understanding that in anticipation of the government shutdown, Southwest Lawyers and FAA lawyers entered into negotiations and reached a contract agreement that reasonable costs associated with certifying a few aircraft into service will be reimbursed by the FAA.

It's also my understanding that FAA dispatches inspectors, an office administrator, charges the time, and then the FAA pays the inspector and office administrator. Given they have no "real budget" or "money" at the moment, the FAA invoices Southwest for those costs.

Is it bribery? No. Optics issue? Possibly.

Are you saying that the FAA lawyers agreed to use taxpayer dollars to reimburse southwest for their expenses in certifying a few aircraft? That makes little sense to me. The burden of certification for an individual airline should be with that individual airline.

However remember at the time of negotiations, the US Government was still open, and no one envisioned we would have one of the longest federal government shutdowns in history. Probably all sides didn't envision this happening, and it was a God-send to those FAA employees who had a little cash flow. However demoralizing the shutdown was, it provided a bit of hope, a little bit of cash to some furloughed government employees. My hope is that given this was the only action item on an inspector's to do list, they may as well be extra hard during the inspection process.

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