Southwest Airlines Faces Grounding

Southwest Airlines is seeking more time to replace unapproved parts on 82 planes.
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Southwest Airlines

(LUV) - Get Report

could soon be grounded if it does not receive an extension to replace unapproved parts on 82 planes.

Shares of the company stumbled 4% Monday to close at $8.18.

On Aug. 22 the Federal Aviation Administration gave Southwest 10 days to replace unapproved parts, which are designed to push hot engine exhaust away from the wings. While FAA did not deem the violation an immediate safety hazard, it could still force the airline to ground some planes if it is unable to meet the deadline.

The airline has 500 planes, which means that if the FAA forced it to ground all planes that still have unapproved parts, those grounded aircraft would constitute about 10% of its fleet. Southwest canceled 15 flights and suffered widespread delays when it grounded 46 planes for most of the day on Aug. 22.

Southwest said on Monday that it has replaced unapproved parts on 25 planes, but still needs more time to find parts for the remaining jets and an extension to avoid a disruption in its service to its customers. Originally, the airline said the parts were installed on 46 planes, but that number was revised today.

Southwest suspended the maintenance firm, D-Velco, that originally got the unapproved parts from a subcontractor.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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