FAA Clears United Airlines to Add New Aircraft and Routes

elisfkc from Orlando, FL, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

There’s some positive news for United Airlines, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clearing the carrier to add new aircraft and routes to its network.

Today’s news follows a period of several weeks of regulatory scrutiny by the FAA. This was brought about by a spate of air safety incidents involving United Airlines aircraft earlier this year.

FAA Green Lights United Growth Restart

The US aviation regulator has now lifted the operational restriction on the carrier. The regulatory block has prevented the airline from adding new planes and routes to its network.

This means United can now restart the process of getting approval for new aircraft and destinations.

This marks a significant step forward for the airline, which has been working to address safety concerns raised by the FAA earlier this year.

The FAA had essentially paused the certification process for new United aircraft and routes. This allowed them time to review the airline’s overall operations and safety procedures.

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According to news reports, the US airline confirmed it now had clearance to proceed in a note to employees on Wednesday.

“Today, we got some good news. After a careful review and discussion about the proactive safety steps United has taken to date, our FAA Certificate Management Office has allowed us to begin the process of restarting our certification activities, including new aircraft and routes, and we will continue to coordinate closely with the FAA.”

Scrutiny After Safety Incidents

The increased level of scrutiny and restriction followed a string of air safety incidents. Several incidents occurred in rapid succession through the earlier part of the year.

Notable among these was the detachment of a main wheel from a United Boeing 777. The wheel separation occurred during a departure from San Francisco in March.

Eight incidents involving United Airlines aircraft occurred over a 10-day period. In March 2024, AviationSource reported on the incidents involving United Airlines aircraft. A full list of these incidents is summarized here.

The airline responded at the time, adding additional pilot training and retooling training for its engineers and mechanics.

United CEO Message: March 2024

Busy Summer Season Anticipated

United Airlines welcomes the latest news, as the FAA restrictions had significantly hindered their ability to launch new routes planned for the peak summer travel season.

An estimated 271 million passengers are expected to take to the skies across the US peak season from June 1 to August 31.

This equates to a significant 6.3% increase compared to last year, which itself was a record-breaking season.

While the regulatory clearance is a positive development, it’s important to note that the FAA’s review of United is still ongoing. As such, the full impact of the review on United’s growth plans in the longer term remains to be seen.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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