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The Wall Street Journal: FAA, in rare step, warns Southwest and mechanics union that contract standoff could threaten safety

Federal aviation regulators took the unusual step of warning Southwest Airlines Co. and its mechanics that their high-profile labor dispute threatens to damage the airline’s safety practices.

Friday’s letter from Ali Bahrami, the Federal Aviation Administration’s top safety official, said worsening relations between the carrier LUV, -1.26% and the union representing about 2,400 mechanics “raises concern about the ongoing effectiveness of the airline’s safety management system.”

Last month, Southwest declared an operational emergency, claiming mechanics were taking an unusual number of aircraft out of service, resulting in delayed or canceled flights.

The union, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, declined to comment on Friday’s letter.

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