FAA to take closer look at United Airlines after series of incidents involving Boeing jets

ByGregory Wallace and Samantha Delouya, CNN, CNNWire
Saturday, March 23, 2024
FAA to take a closer look at United after a series of incidents
The FAA will take a closer look at safety after a series of United Airlines incidents involving Boeing jets.

The Federal Aviation Administration will take a closer look at safety at United Airlines after a string of nearly a dozen incidents this month, the airline said in a memo Friday.

"Over the next several weeks, we will begin to see more of an FAA presence in our operation as they begin to review some of our work processes, manuals and facilities," United said in a memo to employees obtained by CNN. The review means an "even closer look at multiple areas of our operation to ensure we are doing all we can to promote and drive safety compliance."

SEE ALSO | United CEO tries to reassure customers following multiple safety incidents involving Boeing jets

On March 15, a United Boeing 737-800 landed in Medford, Oregon, missing an external panel.

While no passengers were injured, the incident was just one in a line of recent mishaps on United flights - all involving Boeing jets. In just the last month, another United Boeing plane spewed flames from an engine after taking off, one slid off the runway, one lost a wheel during takeoff, and yet another trailed hydraulic fluid.

READ MORE | United plane from San Francisco to Oregon loses external panel mid-flight, officials say

"The number of safety-related events in recent weeks have rightfully caused us to pause and evaluate whether there is anything we can and should do differently," the United employee memo said.

In a statement, the FAA said its "safety assurance system routinely monitors all aspects of an airline's operation. It focuses on an airline's compliance with applicable regulations; ability to identify hazards, assess and mitigate risk; and effectively manage safety."

RELATED | United flight returns to O'Hare Airport after takeoff due to maintenance issue

Boeing, the manufacturer of the vast majority of the jets that United Airlines uses, is also in the spotlight following a series of dramatic incidents involving its planes. The most notable being is the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 plane that lost a door plug mid-flight on January 5, leaving a hole in the side of the plane.

Last week, a LATAM Airlines flight from Sydney, Australia, to Auckland, New Zealand, plunged in mid-air suddenly, causing some passengers to be injured as they were thrown to the ceiling of the cabin.

Both incidents are still under investigation, but an early report from the National Transportation and Safety Board found that Boeing may have left bolts off the Alaska Air jet. Boeing has suggested that the LATAM plunge may have been caused by an incident in the cockpit rather than by the plane's controls.

Still, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has said he would look into the possibility of buying more jets from Airbus, Boeing's European competitor.

SEE ALSO | Tire falls off United flight after takeoff, crushing several vehicles in parking lot, company says

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

- CNN's Pete Muntean and Chris Isidore contributed to reporting.

(The-CNN-Wire & 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.)