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Another 25-Year-Old United Airlines Boeing 737 Has Landed With a Missing Panel

Another 25-Year-Old United Airlines Boeing 737 Has Landed With a Missing Panel

a white airplane on a runway

A United Airlines Boeing 737-800 has landed with a missing exterior panel after engineers discovered a missing lower wing panel following a short flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on Wednesday. It is the second such incident for United in less than a month.

Few details of the April 10 incident have been made public, but the Federal Aviation Administration said the 25-year-old aircraft had landed safely at Harry Reid International Airport following what was otherwise a routine 50-minute flight.

It’s likely that just like the last time that a panel fell off a United plane, the pilots had no idea what had happened, meaning that there was no declared emergency and the passengers were none the wiser to the damage to the aircraft.

It was only during a routine post-flight inspection that engineers discovered the missing lower wing panel on flight UA1960.

Unsurprisingly, the aircraft (registration: N24224) had to be taken out of service until it was fixed the following afternoon.

Last month, an external panel was ripped off the underside of another 25-year-old United Boeing 737-800 during a short flight from San Francisco to Oregon. At the time, a United spokesperson said the airline would conduct an investigation to work out why the panel detached from the aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently opened a probe into safety standards at United’s following a series of mishaps and accidents over the last few months.

Last week, United admitted that the FAA is preventing it from opening up new routes to new destinations until the probe is over. As a result, United has been forced to suspend route launches to Cebu in the Philippines and Faro, Portugal.

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.

View Comments (2)
  • I agree. Boeing does have its problems but the pattern is that United was regarded as a safe airline. Safety best practices start at the top Scott Kirby. Stop pointing fingers and making excuses. Maybe sacrifice one of your multi millions of dollars for a quality training program. You can certainly afford it.

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