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United Airlines Admits That it’s Being Forced to Delay New Route Launches Because of FAA Safety Probe

United Airlines Admits That it’s Being Forced to Delay New Route Launches Because of FAA Safety Probe

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United Airlines has been forced to admit that it is not allowed to open routes to new cities while a probe by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) into safety standards at the Chicago-based carrier is ongoing.

The revelation came to light after United announced late last week that it would no longer be opening two new routes from Newark to Faro, Portugal and Cebu, Philippines, via Tokyo Narita as planned.

The new year-round service to Cebu was due to launch in just a few short months on July 31, while a planned May 24 launch of a new summer seasonal route to Faro on Portugal’s Algarve won’t go ahead this year at all.

United is still hoping to launch its eagerly anticipated new service to Cebu in October, along with another new route from Newark to Marrakesh, Morocco – although, of course, that will depend on the progress of the FAA probe.

Following an embarrassing slew of safety mishaps, United’s vice president of corporate safety, Sasha Johnson, told employees in an internal memo a couple of weeks ago that the FAA had decided to carry out a review of safety procedures at the airline.

Johnson said the FAA had made United “pause a variety of certification activities for a period of time” – Although, at the time, what certification activities would be paused remained unclear.

One rumor was that United would be barred from opening new routes to new cities and the airline has now admitted that this is, in fact, the case. It does appear, however, that United is hopeful that the ban will only be in place for a short time.

The ban also doesn’t stop United from launching new flights or expanding services to cities that it already serves.

United has also delayed its annual investor day, which was scheduled to take place on May 1, because it would send the “wrong message” to be boasting about the airline’s “bright future” while an FAA safety probe is taking place.

“Right now, our entire team is focused on cooperating with the FAA to review our safety protocols, and it would simply send the wrong message to our team to have an exciting investor day focused primarily on financial results,” the airline told shareholders in an update.

The event is now expected to take place in the Fall, around the same time that United is able to start launching new cities again.

View Comment (1)
  • Wow, the FAA is clueless. First they let Boeing get with murder (literally). Second, they continued that cozy relationship with Boeing. Third, they have let Alaska’s very serious and life threatening maintenance and safety practices go unchecked. And now they decide to crack down on United? I firmly consider United to be one of the safest airlines in the world. The FAA needs a reality check.

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