Southwest reportedly unable to verify some 737 jets meet safety standards

Nose-to-tail physical inspections will be completed no later than Jan. 31, 2020, airline says.

The Federal Aviation Administration considered grounding some Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 jets, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Despite not being able to verify that repairs on 38 aircraft met mandatory U.S. safety standards, Southwest continues to operate the jets for revenue service, according to the Journal, citing government documents.

Congressional investigators and the Department of Transportation's inspector general are focusing on used foreign aircraft acquired by Southwest. The FAA and Southwest found that the previous airline had not properly documented "a small number" of repairs made on some of its fleet, Southwest confirmed to FOX Business.

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The airline insisted the repairs were made, and blamed the missing paperwork on "differences in language and repair criteria."

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"Southwest has conducted a thorough audit of the aircrafts' maintenance records to ensure that every documented repair was captured and properly classified in our electronic record-keeping system," a company spokesperson said.

"Additionally, all of the aircraft have undergone visual inspections, and Southwest will complete physical inspections, from nose to tail, on each of the pre-owned aircraft no later than January 31, 2020, satisfying all FAA requests associated with these aircraft," the spokesperson added.

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The jets investigators are eyeing are among 88 that Southwest brought into its fleet from about 2013 to 2017, according to the Journal, which reported that the planes were from Canada, China, Russia, Argentina and Turkey. Currently, 41 of the jets have been fully inspected and meet all FAA requirements, while nine others are being inspected, according to the outlet.

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