FAA To Scrutinize United Airlines More Heavily Following Safety Incidents

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  • United Airlines faced a series of incidents, including tire loss, skidding, and jammed rudder.
  • The FAA is intensifying inspections, showcasing a commitment to aviation safety.
  • Flying remains safe, with industry advancements reducing hull losses and enhancing crew training.

Readers will remember that in the past month, one of the American “Big Three” carriers, United, has been experiencing a string of incidents with their aircraft. One of the more notable incidents occurred on March 8, when one of their Boeing 777s took off from San Fransisco (SFO) bound for Osaka (KIX).

Upon take-off, the Boeing widebody lost a tire of the rear undercarriage, severely damaging a car in the parking lot below. It was forced to divert to Los Angeles. Thankfully, no injuries were reported onboard. That same day, a company’s 737 MAX 8, operating flight UA2477 from Memphis to Houston, skidded off the taxiway, forcing the passengers to be evacuated by the airport’s fire services. Once again, there were no reported injuries. Other incidents, including a jammed rudder, occurred in March.

Photo: Anatoliy Lukich | Shutterstock


United Airlines Plans Safety Training After Latest Boeing 737-800 Incident

The airline’s CEO directly addressed the string of incidents, including several involving Boeing aircraft.

FAA seeks a greater presence

For an airline to suffer several incidents over a short period is unusual. According to the New York Times, the airline released a memo in which Sasha Johnson, a vice president of corporate safety, said:

We will begin to see more of an FAA presence in our operation as they review some of our work processes, manuals, and facilities. We welcome their engagement and are very open to hearing from them about what they find and their perspective on things we may need to change to make us even safer.

In the same article, it is said that the airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Scott Kirby, sought to reassure customers. He stated:

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

In a statement, a spokesperson for the FAA told Simple Flying:

The FAA’s 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.

Safety remains the priority

Readers should rest assured that traveling by air remains safe. The fact that the FAA has decided to intensify its inspections within the airline indicates that the agency takes aviation safety seriously.

Silhouettes of the airplanes with Tails at airport during bright yellow sunset, concept picture about transport as background.
Photo: Savvapanf | Shutterstock

Furthermore, the past year has not seen a single jet hull loss, and although this year has seen significant incidents such as JL516 in January, most incidents, including the latter, have not seen casualties of the passengers aboard the plane. Advancements in incident reporting, cabin crew training, and industry construction norms over the past decades have reduced the instances of hull losses and increased the chances of survival.


IATA Hails 2023 As The ‘Safest Year For Flying’

2023 was the safest year for flying on record, with no fatal accidents recorded on any jet aircraft.

In summary, prospective passengers should be confident flying on any airline, including United, as, although they have suffered a string of incidents, these remain extremely rare. And if the unlikely event does happen, the crew undergoes recurrent training to ensure the best possible outcome for those onboard.

Have you heard about the recent incidents? What do you think about the increased FAA inspections? Let us know in the comments below.

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