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Southwest Is Under FAA Investigation After 2 In-Flight Emergencies

The agency is battling growing concerns over the safety of aviation.

With plane doors blowing off mid-flight and several close calls with runway collisions, many of us have never felt more scared to fly than we do right now. But aviation officials are working to gain back the public's trust by thoroughly investigating recent safety incidents. At the beginning of the year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) opened an investigation into the quality of Boeing airplanes after the door of one of its planes came off during an Alaska Airlines flight. And now, Southwest Airlines just found itself under FAA investigation following two separate in-flight emergencies.

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Last month, a Southwest plane nearly collided with an air traffic control tower at New York's LaGuardia Airport while trying to land, CBS News reported. According to the news outlet, Southwest Flight 147 was transporting 147 passengers and six crew members from Nashville to New York on March 23 when the incident occurred.

Pilots flying the plane initially aborted their first approach to land because of bad weather, but during their second landing attempt, an air traffic controller was heard on ATC radio communication telling the pilots to "go around, go around" because the plane "was not aligned with the runway at all."

The flight was then diverted to Baltimore where it landed safely before eventually making its way back to New York. But the FAA confirmed on April 4 that it is now investigating why the Southwest flight had such a close call with the air traffic control tower during its attempted landing, CNN reported.

Southwest Airlines indicated that the flight encountered turbulence and low visibility as it was approaching LaGuardia, but the carrier said it is also looking into the incident.

"We are reviewing the event as part of our Safety systems," Southwest said in a written statement to CNN.

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But this is just one of the incidents Southwest is currently under FAA investigation for, according to Quartz. The second involves a more recent flight that was traveling to Orlando from New Orleans on April 3.

Southwest Flight 4273 had to make an emergency landing in Tampa after encountering turbulence, USA Today reported. According to the news outlet, two people on board were injured and had to be transported by paramedics during the diversion in Tampa. Southwest confirmed that one of the injured travelers was a flight attendant.

The flight eventually made its way to its intended destination of Orlando, but the FAA is also investigating this Southwest incident over what it is referring to as "severe turbulence," Quartz reported.

This comes at a time when officials are outwardly concerned about the safety of flying. In March, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg warned about an "uptick" in recent aviation incidents during a rare, emergency FAA safety summit, CNN reported.

During the summit, the agency admitted that it is looking for "ways to address areas where the existing safety system could be tightened" but stressed that air travel is still a rather safe form of transportation.

"There is no question that aviation is amazingly safe, but vigilance can never take the day off," FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen said in a statement, per CNN. "We must ask ourselves difficult and sometimes uncomfortable questions, even when we are confident that the system is sound."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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