Today is slated as the deadline for Southwest Airlines and the FAA to outline what the carrier will do with aircraft still flying with unapproved parts provided by a subcontractor, but no news has surfaced yet.
FAA on Aug. 22 issued Southwest permission to continue flying the aircraft for 10 days, while the two parties figured out a permanent solution. As FAA notes, there is not an immediate safety issue. (Aviation DAILY subscribers can see Andrew Compart's story here.)
According to my colleague Andy's story, Southwest had replaced parts on 33 of the 82 affected Boeing 737-300 and -500 aircraft.
A potential grounding hangs over the remaining aircraft, whose exhaust gate assembly hinge fittings have not yet been replaced.
Eric Torbenson of the Dallas Morning News' Airline Biz blog thinks a grounding is unlikely, and he also raises some interesting questions: "Will Southwest be asked to tweak its internal processes related to vendors? Will someone be asked to take a fall here? If Boeing has signed off on the safety of the "unauthorized" parts, how big of a deal is this really?" Good questions, Eric.
I guess we'll have to wait and see.