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Audit Initiated of FAA's Safety Oversight of Southwest Airlines

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On March 9, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established requirements for all part 121 air carriers to implement a formal, top-down approach to managing safety risks, known as safety management systems. However, recent events have raised concerns about FAA’s safety oversight, particularly for Southwest Airlines, one of the largest part 121 carriers in the United States. Accordingly, we are initiating a review of FAA’s safety oversight of Southwest Airlines. Specifically, our objective is to assess FAA’s oversight of Southwest Airlines’ systems for managing risk.