April 13, 2024

United Airlines has had at least 11 safety incidents in the U.S. over the past month.

United Airlines has had at least 11 safety incidents in the U.S. over the past month.
Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

United Airlines has had a turbulent month, marked by at least 11 safety incidents in the U.S. Now, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is ramping up oversight of the nation’s second-largest airline by revenue.

Sasha Johnson, United’s vice president of corporate safety, said the agency will examine “multiple areas of our operation” to ensure compliance with safety regulations, according to a memo to employees reviewed by Quartz.

“[S]afety is foundational to the success of our airline and we can never take it for granted,” Johnson said. “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.”

Johnson said the FAA will also pause “a variety” of certification activities for an unspecified period of time.

Both United and the FAA are investigating a series of incidents that have occurred over the past month. Several flights have had to turn around — at least one with a mechanical issue that led to flames spewing from the engines — while others have landed safely despite various issues.

A United plane from Houston veered off the runway after landing earlier this month. Another plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Los Angeles after losing a tire during takeoff.

“Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, our airline has experienced a number of incidents that are reminders of the importance of safety,” United CEO Scott Kirby wrote in a memo to customers on March 18. “While they are all unrelated, I want you to know that these incidents have our attention and have sharpened our focus.”

Although no injuries were reported in any of the incidents, consumers, investors, and regulators, are on the lookout for any problems due to the the Alaska Airlines door plug blowout in January. United also wants to avoid any serious incidents, especially in light of the $1 billion lawsuit filed against Alaska and Boeing by the passengers of that January flight.

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