The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is planning to impose a $3.92 million fine on Southwest Airlines, accusing the latter of operating 44 aircraft on over 21 thousand commercial flights with incorrect calculations of weight and balance data.

The information related to weight, along with other data, is used to determine certain safety parameters; in particular those on how much passengers and fuel can be carried safely, as well as where to locate cargo on a given aircraft. 

The FAA alleges that Southwest Airlines operated 21,505 flights with incorrect operational empty weights and center of gravity or moment data. According to the agency, the flights took place between  May and August 2018. 

Southwest has now 30 days to respond to the FAA.

Southwest Airlines, one of the largest U.S. carriers, operates a fleet of 745 aircraft, including 34 grounded Boeing 737 MAX jets. The airline has previously landed in hot water with the FAA over the maintenance documents of some of its second-hand aircraft.

In November 2019, narrowly avoided grounding of 38 of its planes due to concerns related to their operational history. However, the airline and the agency did reach an agreement to complete the required checks by January 31, 2020. A year prior, the airline voluntary grounded 34 of its Boeing 737s on Thanksgiving eve for the same reason. 

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has threatened Southwest Airlines, an owner of over 750 Boeing 737 aircraft, to ground 38 of the jets due to concerns related to their operational history, namely performed maintenance while they were flown by other airlines from outside the United States.