The baggage system of Southwest Airlines is being checked by US Federal Aviation Administration to understand how it checks the weight of baggage on its flights. The probe by FAA which began in Feb 2018 has been directed at developing a comprehensive solution to techniques used by Southwest Airlines for determination of its performance data. It was reported in Wall Street Journal that FAA officials that studied the documents indicated that employees of the airlines had made errors about luggage weight calculations due to which their pilots had computed wrong weight details during takeoff.
FAA described these errors as both systemic and significant as due to this its takeoff weights were 1000 pounds less than actual weight of the plane. As per the guidelines of weight and balance handbook of FAA determined for airline companies any excess weight on aircraft can lead to several problems including speed needed for higher takeoff, reduction in cruising speeds besides decrease in maneuverability and stress on the landing gear. Southwest Airlines has declared in a public statement to CNN that it is working with FAA to conduct a detailed scrutiny of its operational data so that the airline can eliminate all operational risks.
The airline has added that it has already put controls in place that can address all its weight and balance issues effectively and announced that it will share all these measures with the FAA. It announced that due to implementation of these measures that have been in place since 2018 which have resolved their weight and balance issues to a large extent. But FAA said that its investigation will not be closed unless it is satisfied that the measures taken by Southwest Airlines are sustained and consistent. But the airline is already going through labor issues and stated that it’s “out of service” aircraft due to maintenance issues have nearly doubled in the past one week. And they are working extra hours to return the aircrafts to service at the earliest.