FAA clears United Airlines to add new aircraft and routes after safety review

A United Airlines 737Max8

Leslie Josephs | CNBC

United Airlines said the Federal Aviation Administration has authorized the addition of new planes and routes, months after the regulator stepped up its oversight of the airline following several safety incidents.

“Today we received good news: After careful review and discussion of the proactive safety steps United has taken to date, our FAA Certificate Management Office has enabled us to begin the process of restarting our certification activities, including new aircraft and routes. and we will continue to work closely with the FAA,” United said in a note to employees on Wednesday.

United said in March that the FAA had increased oversight of the airline after a spate of several incidents earlier this year. That kept the company from launching new routes, including flights to Faro, Portugal, ahead of the busy summer season.

The FAA's approval is welcome news as United and other airlines expect a record peak season this year.

One of the safety incidents in recent months involves a United Boeing 777 bound for Japan lost a bond shortly after takeoff from San Francisco in February, and a missing panel was discovered on a Boeing 737 after it landed in Oregon in March.

However, United said there is still more work to do.

“We will continue to see an FAA presence in our operations as they review our work processes, manuals and facilities,” the company said in its employee memo.

The FAA did not immediately comment.

Although the planes involved older jets, the incidents come amid heightened scrutiny from the aviation industry after a door plug blew out of a nearly new aircraft.Boeing 737 Max 9 operated by Alaska Airlines earlier this year, a near-catastrophe that has created a new crisis for the manufacturer.

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