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FAA Proposes More Than $1 Million Fine on United Airlines

Date: February 6, 2023

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that it is proposing a more than $1.1 million penalty against United Airlines for allegedly failing to perform required fire-system safety checks on its Boeing 777s.

The FAA alleged that in 2018 United removed a fire system warning check from a preflight checklist and operated 102,488 Boeing 777 flights from June 2018 to April 2021, without making sure they were in an airworthy condition “properly maintained for operation,” according to a letter from the FAA on Monday to United’s CEO Scott Kirby. CNBC viewed the letter.

“The safety of our flights was never in question,” United said in a statement. 

The carrier said that it changed its preflight checklist in 2018 “to account for redundant built-in checks performed automatically by the 777” and said that was reviewed and approved by the FAA at the time.

“In 2021, the FAA informed United that United’s maintenance program called for the pre-flight check by pilots,” the airline said in a statement. “Once confirmed, United immediately updated its procedures.”

United said it will review the proposed fine.

“The inspection is required in the maintenance specifications manual. Removal of the check resulted in United’s failure to perform the required check and the operation of aircraft that did not meet airworthiness requirement,” the FAA said in a statement. 

United had 96 Boeing 777s as of the end of 2021, making up about 11% of its total fleet, according to a securities filing.

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