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Under the Radar: Threat of Safety Controls

Judd Elizabeth | April 15, 2008

Lapses in safety controls might not seem like the sort of thing that could cause material financial problems for a company … right up until the airline industry strands hundreds of thousands of people across the country while it catches up on safety inspections. Then you start wondering how much all this is going to cost.

Nobody yet knows exactly how much last week’s transportation fiasco will nick the airlines. In addition to the cost of feeding, lodging, and rebooking passengers, the airlines were stuck paying overtime costs to have employees inspect aircraft for faulty wiring. Ensuing bad publicity certainly won’t help lure future customers. Inevitably, somebody somewhere is bound to file a lawsuit.

Then there’s the small matter of the Federal Aviation Administration. On March 7 it proposed a $10.2 million fine against Southwest Airlines for lax safety controls, which touched off last week’s inspection frenzy among... To get the full story, subscribe now.