United Airlines Fails Vital Safety and Airworthiness Checks

United Airlines is said to have failed to check a fire safety system before takeoff for over 100,000 flights and is facing a fine of over a million dollars.

By Tiffany Velasquez | Published

United Airline

United Airlines is facing a $1.1 million fine for allegedly removing a fire system warning check from its Boeing 777. Apparently, the company performed over 100,000 flights without checking to ensure that the fire system was in proper condition, making the aircraft worthy to fly. The airline company argues that the safety of its flights was never in question, and it received approval from the FAA for its preflight checklist.

In 2018, United Airlines submitted a change to their preflight checklist that automatically eliminated redundant checks that the Boeing 777 performed. At the time, the FAA gave a green light of approval after reviewing the submitted changes to the preflight checklist. The airline giant has been operating with the revised checklist from 2008 to April 2021.

Sometime in 2021, United Airlines received a notice from the FAA that pilots needed to perform preflight maintenance via the United maintenance program. Once the airline received the request from the FAA, they immediately enforced and updated the procedures. Although the FAA originally approved the revision to the flight checklist, they intend to fine United over a million dollars.

United is currently reviewing the proposed fine as the FAA had originally given them the green light of approval for the revision in the first place. United Airlines has a thirty-day window to make a response to the proposed fines. An official response by the airline to the FAA has yet to be made.

United Airlines has a fleet of nearly 100 Boeing 777s in operation. In 2008, around the time of the original revision, the airline grounded its entire fleet of Boeing 777s due to mechanics failing to carry out fire-suppression device checks. United placed the blame for this incident on Boeing for failing to include the operations test in its manual.

Later in 2021, United Airlines was forced to ground a quarter of its fleet of Boeing 777s. The Arline failed to inspect a panel of the wing of the 777. This was a required check that the airline failed to carry out.

The current situation that United Airlines is in seems to be sticky and messy. If the FAA gave the company permission for a revised flight checklist, why would they fine them? It would make much more sense for the FAA to just come back in and say that certain things need to be done before take-off to endure the safety of the plane and passengers aboard.

Given the history of United Airlines, having the fleet grounded more than once before, it is hard to say what exactly is happening here. Additionally, the airline failed to take accountability during a previous grounding and placed blame on an outside source. In all actuality, the company may have failed to partake in the necessary safety checks and, out of convenience, in an attempt to avoid any fines and penalties, placed the blame on the manufacturer of the plane.

United Airlines and the FAA will go through with individual investigations and come to a conclusion soon. For now, the airline giant has adhered to the rules of the FAA and returned to making certain safety checks manually.