The facts are not all known, and the fact is the planes were all safe. The reason airplanes crack are they are made out of aluminum and they "flex" with each pressure cycle. Boeing designed the skins to be thicker in certain areas and thinner in other areas to save weight in the construction (which allows you to carry more stuff on the plane). This was a good idea and is the norm in the industry. As aircraft ages the thinner areas weaken and start to crack. Boeing designed the aircraft with doublers, tearstraps, and "Bearstraps" to prevent the kind of catastrophic failure seen on the "Aloha" aircraft, which was a much older Boeing design than the Classic.
These designed thicker areas are made to prevent a failure as seen in the "Aloha" incident and work very well. The inspection programs are built to catch the cracks, the AD's are more specific in detail and frequency.
The first post in this blog asks you to read the FAA letter to SWA, I highly recommend you read it, and try to understand it. As it refers to numerous "If/Then" scenarios of whether or not a certain inspection/AD/cancels out another or is applicable at another time. Having first hand experience trying to make sense out of some of these documents, I feel the real problem is the confusing nature in which the FAA and the Manufacturer's approve and send these documents(AD's & SB's) to the airlines.
Southwest Airlines is the most successful, safe, and best maintained airline in the world. Their safety record, customer complaints record, and DOT ratings reflect this. Please wait for the facts to come out as there has been a terrible injustice against SWA and to the trust of those customers who entrust SWA with their lives.
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