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SWA Dispatcher Raise safety Q's


Well-known member
May 2, 2004
Total Time

Southwest Dispatchers Raise Questions About Safety and the Relationship Between LUV Airline and FAA over Flights to Central America for Aircraft Overhauls

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dispatchers at Southwest Airlines, represented by the Transport Workers Union (TWU), whose job is to guarantee flight safety, have raised “multiple safety concerns” about Southwest Airlines flights to El Salvador for major overhauls.
TWU Local 550 members also have been disturbed by what appear to be “an ongoing close relationship between the FAA and SWA.” The FAA has worked with Southwest to grant waivers for the Central America-bound flights, but the agency has not been forthcoming in answering dispatcher questions about safeguards and regulatory compliance. The agency’s lack of response to dispatchers, who are charged with FAA compliance and essentially serve as an airline’s safety officers, has become so absurd that the local union has resorted to putting a display on its Web site with the number of days without a response --20 days at the time of this release.
A letter to all dispatchers from the union’s leadership outlining problems with the El Salvador-bound flights can be found at the union’s Web site www.twu550.org .
Flight dispatchers at Southwest and other airlines are responsible for planning and monitoring the progress of an aircraft journey. Both the pilot in command and the dispatcher are legally responsible for the safety of a flight.
Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) represents 200,000 workers and retirees, primarily in commercial aviation, public transportation and passenger railroads, including flight attendants, ground workers and dispatchers at Southwest. The union is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.


Well-known member
Mar 9, 2007
1. Is this training adequate for the International flight operation to be conducted safely?
2. If the flight is dispatched with a Dispatch Release does it require compliance with Part 121 Domestic or Flag
3. Should an aircraft require a Maintenance Ferry Permit is it still Part 91? If not, how should it be dispatched?
4. Does the FAA have any concerns that ASD will not be available for flight monitoring?
5. Does the FAA have any concern that constant communication with the aircraft most likely may not be
6. Does the Operating Specifications for Southwest Airlines permit operation in Mexican Airspace, Central
America, and South America?
7. Does the FAA have any concerns regarding test flights to be conducted in International Airspace?
8. What alternate airports are FAA approved for Southwest Airlines in this country and/or surrounding countries?
What about enroute alternates airports?
9. Does an individual Dispatcher have the option to refuse dispatching of one of these if he/she feels they are
not adequately trained, qualified, or proficient in this type of operation?
10. Does an individual Dispatcher have the option to refuse dispatching one of these flights if he feels it is
unsafe for viable reasons?
11. Although these flights are being operated as Part 91, our contract requires our Dispatchers to dispatch all
SWA aircraft, regardless of nature. Is the dispatcher of record exempt from all responsibility and liability
regarding his certificate? Considering SWA Flight Ops Manual states the Dispatchers’ responsibilities as follows
(quoted from the SWA Flight Ops Manual; personal emphasis added):

List of question they have for the FAA. Some of these question are questionable.

#4 shouldnt have been listed because ASD isnt a requirement for any airline just a way to flight follow which they can do by the release.

#6 is a question that doesnt need to be asked it should be in the ops specs.

Rest are good questions. Proper trianing should be done as there are some tricky airports down there and you dont want o list them as alternates or even divert to them.

Part 91 in our office we alway put for informational purpose only on the release as it doesnt require a dispatcher.


Dad is my favorite title
Nov 30, 2001
Total Time
If the TWU thinks for a second that the general public gives a damn about any of this, posting it on a public website, I want what they are smoking.

As long as you dont mess with their $99 USD one way based on a round trip purchase transcontinental flights where they get their single bag o nuts from the F/A in the aisle, and that their bags make it - that is all they give 2 craps about.

I question any union that doesnt keep their laundry inside - public doesnt care, and dont think for a second that they do. The public would say "TWU who?"

To me, its another example of all that is wrong in the 21st century airline industry