While Southwest Airlines is not a small business, it does provide service to many entrepreneurs, including myself. That’s why I’m doing this post. I want to put my two cents in to what I believe will be a bigger problem than the cracks for Southwest.
Since grounding their Boeing 737 jets, they have found three more planes with cracks similar to the one that caused the rip during flight and causing the jet to lose cabin pressure. While the pilots did a great job getting the airliner to the ground, the potential for this happening can’t be comforting to customers.
The recent inspections are more extensive than the required checks approved by NTSB. Evidently these cracks are undetectable under normal inspections.
What’s even more interesting is that the jet that lost pressure and opened up was completely rebuilt a year ago, right down to the frame. Before you think that this was caused by a defect in workmanship, think again.
It turns out that inspectors believe the short routes Southwest does causes these planes to be pressurized and depressurized more frequently than standard use of other carriers. The airliners are going through more stress than would normally be attributed to a jet of this type.
This could pose two significant issues for Southwest. The first being, what will customers think about using them for short flights? Are they comfortable that the equipment Southwest is using will continue to be safe?
The second issue brings to question the life expectancy of a jet under these conditions. Will Southwest have to rotate its fleet out more often? This could pose a significant cost to the airliner and remove the lower cost flight advantage.
These are just questions, I’m no expert, but I have liked everything about southwest except getting a number for your seat right before the flight. The convenience factor has overridden that issue as Southwest has always gone above the call to get me where I need to go.
I’m confident that they will come up with a safe solution that keeps customers loyal, but I will be waiting for those answers as they become available.