(Washington D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) issued the following statement after the disclosure of Southwest Airlines’ repeated violations of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety rules.  Senator Murray, Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee has oversight and funding responsibilities over the FAA.

“These grotesque safety violations on the part of Southwest Airlines are inexcusable, and so too are the actions of the FAA.  While the FAA is right to assess serious fines for these violations, we need to ask serious questions as to why it took the FAA so long to discover them.  The taxpayers pay hundreds of millions of dollars every year to employ thousands of inspectors to discover these potential abuses before they occur.  But in this case, it appears that our federal watchdog knowingly looked the other way.  

"These violations started 21 months ago and ceased a year ago.  Yet the FAA only announced their pursuit of these fines when these violations were disclosed by the press.  I intend to hold accountable the FAA official's responsible for this inexcusable lapse – and question why they are still receiving a paycheck from the taxpayer.”