FAA Considering Unprecedented “Drastic Measures” For United Airlines After Flurry Of Safety Incidents

March 24, 2024   |   Tags:
FAA Considering Unprecedented "Drastic Measures" For United Airlines After Flurry Of Safety Incidents

After weeks and weeks of daily mechanical incidents that prompted many to ask - no pun intended - if the wings have fallen off from the US aviation and airline industries, on Saturday Bloomberg reported that US aviation authorities are considering drastic measures to curb growth at United Airlines, including preventing the carrier from adding new routes, following a series of safety incidents.

Citing "people with knowledge", Bloomberg said that the Federal Aviation Administration (or FAA) has discussed temporary actions it may take with the airline’s leadership in recent days. This follows a report from Reuters ("Boeing chair to meet key airline customers without planemaker's CEO, sources say") last week hinting that the CEO of Boeing, David Calhoun, may be in jeopardy after the relentless barage of Boeing-linked "mishaps" especially after recent comments by Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary who slammed Boeing's corporate culture. Anyway, going back to United, in addition to route restrictions, the US carrier may be barred from flying paying customers on newly delivered aircraft; indeed the sources said that the FAA already is suspending United’s ability to approve and promote pilots to fly different aircraft models. One wonders if it's because of, well, this...

The proposed clampdown would effectively pause growth for an unspecified period at one of the largest US airlines, underscoring the panicked rush to restore confidence in, and heightened scrutiny on commercial aviation safety following a near-catastrophe earlier this year involving a Boeing plane. Since the January incident, in which a panel blew out in midair from an Alaska Airlines jet, United has endured multiple headline-grabbing mishaps including:

  • A plane in Houston ran off the taxiway into a grassy area
  • Another aircraft lost a tire shortly after departing from San Francisco
  • A Houston-to-Florida flight had to make an emergency landing after one of its engines began spewing flames.

The FAA has announced investigations of those and other incidents.

The renewed focus reflects stresses on commercial air travel after years of rapid growth coming out of the depths of the pandemic.

Without addressing the report directly, the FAA told Bloomberg that it already plans to increase oversight of United in the coming weeks to review processes, manuals and facilities, the carrier told employees in a memo. Sasha Johnson, United’s vice president of corporate safety, said in the message that regulators and the company agree it needs “to ensure we are doing all we can to promote and drive safety compliance.”

Johnson also said the FAA planned to “pause a variety of certification activities for a period of time,” without specifying which ones. The limits under consideration would restrict United from adding new routes beyond those the airline has already sold tickets for.

Leaders of an Orlando-area local for United pilots sent a message to members saying that the FAA recently stepped in to “take substantial action” against the carrier, including restricting its abilities around pilot approval. The so-called line check process to certify and promote pilots has been paused pending further action from the FAA, according to two people familiar with the situation.

There are now “regulator-imposed restrictions on our ability to operate and grow our airline,” according to the message from the Local Council 150 chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association. “We will also see an increased FAA presence in our daily operation.”

United Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby this week promised customers that the carrier would review the incidents and its employee training. Perhaps what Kirby should be promising customers is to stop pushing "insane", disastrous, and potentially deadly, DEI mandates, which were revealed in an interview he did touting his company’s diversity initiatives, which limited white employees while emphasizing more women and minorities in its workforce.

Maybe, in retrospect, there's a reason why there are fewer women and minorities in the air travel industry...

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/24/2024 - 16:55


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