FAA on statement on Southwest Airlines inspections that grounded 128 planes: 'Southwest Airlines notified the Federal Aviation Administration that it had missed some required inspections on the standby rudder system for 128 of its Boeing 737 aircraft. The airline voluntarily removed these aircraft from service'
Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) is a major U.S. airline and the world's largest low-cost carrier, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The airline was established in 1967 and adopted its current name in 1971. The airline has 44,831 employees as of December 2013 and operates more than 3,400 flights per day. As of June 5, 2011, it carries the most domestic passengers of any U.S. airline. As of July 2014, Southwest Airlines has scheduled service to 89 destinations in 41 states, Puerto Rico and abroad.
Southwest Airlines has used only Boeing 737s, except for a few years in the 1970s and 1980s, when it leased a few Boeing 727s. As of August 2012 Southwest is the largest operator of the 737 worldwide with over 550 in service, each averaging six flights per day. In May 2011 Southwest acquired AirTran Airways, with integration of the carriers expected to be complete by December 28, 2014. On March 1, 2012, the company was issued a single operating certificate, technically becoming one airline.