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United to 'begin the process' of adding planes and routes as FAA evaluates airline's safety

United told employees they will continue to see "an FAA presence" as the agency works to review safety processes and resume certification activities for the airline.
United Airlines planes
Posted at 2:16 PM, May 17, 2024

After a series of reported maintenance and safety issues earlier this year, United Airlines says it is now ready to "begin the process" of adding new aircraft and flight routes as the Federal Aviation Administration continues to assess the airline's safety protocols.

"Today, we got some good news," United told employees in a memo this week, while adding "we will continue to see an FAA presence in our operation as they review our work processes, manuals and facilities."

Reagan National airport in Washington, D.C.

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The FAA is making its presence known as inspectors with its Certificate Management Office work to restart certification activities, United confirmed.

In March, United's CEO Scott Kirby said in an email to customers, "unfortunately, in the past few weeks, our airline has experienced a number of incidents that are reminders of the importance of safety." Kirby added, "I want you to know that these incidents have our attention and have sharpened our focus."

United said this week that the airline still has "more to do," and said it remains "open to" the perspective of the FAA "on things that can make us an even safer airline."

Scripps News reached out to the FAA for comment on the agency's progress in certification efforts, and on how soon they expect to taper — if at all — the current heightened safety oversight. The agency didn't immediately respond to the inquiry.

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President Biden said the act will "expand critical protections for air travelers" and will improve safety standards, including by requiring that cockpits be fitted with 25-hour voice recording devices — an increase by two hours compared to current devices.

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