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FAA Scrutinizes United Airlines Amidst Safety Concerns

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced plans to conduct a thorough safety review of United Airlines following a series of nearly a dozen incidents this month, as revealed in an internal memo released by the airline on Friday.

“In the upcoming weeks, we anticipate increased FAA involvement in our operations as they undertake a scrutiny of our procedures, manuals, and facilities,” stated United in the memo obtained by the news. This review will entail “a comprehensive examination of various aspects of our operations to ensure utmost adherence to safety protocols.”

On March 15, a United Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed in Medford, Oregon, with a missing external panel. Though no passengers were harmed, this incident adds to a string of recent mishaps involving Boeing jets operated by United. Over the past month alone, another United Boeing aircraft experienced an engine fire after takeoff, one skidded off the runway, another lost a wheel during takeoff, and yet another leaked hydraulic fluid.

“The recent uptick in safety-related incidents has prompted us to reevaluate our procedures and explore potential improvements,” the United employee memo stated.

In response, the FAA stated that its “safety assurance system routinely monitors all facets of an airline’s operations, focusing on regulatory compliance, hazard identification, risk assessment, and safety management.”

Boeing, the primary manufacturer of jets used by United Airlines, is also facing scrutiny following a series of notable incidents involving its planes. Notably, an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft lost a door plug mid-flight on January 5, resulting in damage to the plane’s fuselage. Additionally, a recent incident involving a LATAM Airlines flight from Sydney to Auckland saw the aircraft suddenly descend mid-air, causing injuries to passengers.

While investigations into these incidents are ongoing, a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board suggests that bolts may have been omitted from the Alaska Air jet by Boeing. Boeing, however, has indicated that the cause of the LATAM incident might be related to cockpit issues rather than aircraft controls.

Despite these challenges, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has expressed interest in exploring the possibility of acquiring additional aircraft from Airbus, Boeing’s European rival.

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