United Airlines to Defer Some New Planes Due to US Safety Review

united airlines to defer some new planes due to us safety review

The deferrals mark the second example of how United is being constrained by a Federal Aviation Administration review that began in late March.

(Bloomberg) — United Airlines Holdings Inc. has put off delivery of at least three Boeing Co. Max 9 aircraft due to limits placed on its operations while federal aviation regulators carry out a safety evaluation at the carrier.

The deferrals mark the second example of how United is being constrained by a Federal Aviation Administration review that began in late March following a series of headline-grabbing safety incidents. The mishaps included an aircraft running off a Houston runway and a wheel falling off another plane just after takeoff. Airline safety throughout the US has been under heightened scrutiny since a fuselage panel broke off an Alaska Airlines flight Jan. 5.

Bloomberg reported last month that regulators were weighing a clampdown on United’s ability to grow, including restricting new routes and barring it from flying paying customers on newly delivered aircraft.

United earlier this month had to delay two new routes set to start this summer because they — like the aircraft — could not be added during the FAA’s evaluation. The agency has previously confirmed its increased oversight would delay some activities at the carrier.

The Max 9 jets won’t be added to the airline’s operating certificate in the second quarter as originally planned, United executives said during an earnings call Wednesday. The change will have a minimal impact on the company’s 2024 capacity plans, President Brett Hart said.

The late arrivals come on top of broader delivery delays linked to manufacturing problems and regulatory hold ups slowing the Boeing 737 Max 10 aircraft. Those limits to United’s growth have forced the carrier to reshuffle its fleet plans through 2027.

The airline is “embracing” the FAA review as an opportunity to improve what it considers to be an already high level of safety, Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby said on the call. The carrier is also conducting an internal review.

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