April 21, 2024

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United Airlines is facing close scrutiny from the Federal Aviation Administration after safety incidents

United Airlines is facing close scrutiny from the Federal Aviation Administration after safety incidents

The Federal Aviation Administration will closely examine United Airlines' operations in the coming weeks after a series of recent safety incidents, the airline told employees in a memo Friday.

“We will begin to see more of an FAA presence in our operations as they begin reviewing some of our work processes, manuals and facilities,” Sasha Johnson, the airline's vice president of corporate safety, said in the memo. “We welcome their participation and are very open to hearing from them about what they have found and their perspective on things we might need to change to make us safer.”

In some of the incidents, which United said were unrelated, one plane veered off the runway, another arrived at its destination with a fuselage panel missing, another lost a tire after takeoff and an engine caught fire after eating plastic wrap.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that it “routinely” monitors airline operations. The agency said it “focuses on the airline’s compliance with applicable regulations; Ability to identify risks, assess risks and mitigate them; and manage safety effectively.”

In United's memo, Ms. Johnson said the agency “will also pause a variety of certification activities for a period of time.”

United CEO Scott Kirby sought to reassure customers this week that the company takes safety seriously after these incidents.

“I want you to know that these incidents have our attention and increased our focus,” he said in an email to customers. “Our team reviews the details of each case to understand what happened and uses those insights to guide our safety training and procedures across all employee groups.”

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Experts caution against drawing sweeping conclusions from these events, which are alarming but common in aviation and often not reported by the media.