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United Airlines Tells Customers They Are Taking Safety Concerns Seriously

United Airlines said it will lose money in the first three months of this year because of the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max 9 planes after a panel blew out of a Max jetliner.
United Airlines said it will lose money in the first three months of this year because of the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max 9 planes after a panel blew out of a Max jetliner. Wilfredo Lee via Associated Press

The United Airlines CEO sent out a letter Monday to customers telling them that the airline is reviewing all safety incidents related to Boeing airplanes.

Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, our airline has experienced a number of incidents that are reminders of the importance of safety,” the letter from CEO Scott Kirby reads. “While they are all unrelated, I want you to know that these incidents have our attention and have sharpened our focus.”

United Airlines has been a part of at least four separate incidents this year, including a plane losing a tire during takeoffa nose wheel detaching also while preparing for takeoff, and having to make an early landing after the airplane’s wing appeared shredded mid-flight.

The letter goes on to say that United Airlines is “reviewing the details of each case to understand what happened.” The airline will also add an extra day of in-person training for all of their pilots starting in May, as well as a “centralized training curriculum” for their new-hire maintenance technicians. 

United Airlines uses five Boeing aircrafts, but federal data shows that the number of accidents and incidents involving Boeing planes this year is relatively the same as last year. Experts said there’s no need for customers to panic. Still, the Department of Justice is investigating Boeing after a door panel flew off mid-flight in January. Attention on Boeing has been brewing over the last few years. In 2019, John Barnett, a former quality control engineer for Boeing, told The New York Times that he had filed a whistleblower complaint after he found metal shavings hanging over wiring, which would potentially cause a “catastrophic” injury during flight. Barnett was found dead last week as he was in the middle of the whistleblower retaliation case.

The United Airlines letter to customers goes on to say that they “empower” their employees to speak up if they see something wrong.

“You can be confident that every time a United plane pulls away from the gate, everyone on our team is working together to keep you safe on your trip.”  

“In the past few years, we’ve done a lot at United to build a new culture,  improve our business and earn your trust. I’m confident that we’ll learn the right lessons from these recent incidents and continue to run an operation that puts safety first and makes our employees and customers proud.”

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