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United Airlines Can Resume Adding New Routes and Planes, FAA Says

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United has overcome a significant hurdle to its growth plans as the FAA eases some restrictions as part of a safety review.

The Federal Aviation Administration is easing some of the restrictions it placed on United Airlines following a series of safety incidents in March.

United will now be able to resume certification activities, which include launching new routes and adding new planes to its fleet, according to a memo seen by Skift that was sent to United employees on Wednesday. 

Previously, the carrier had to postpone routes between Newark and Faro, Portugal and Tokyo and Cebu, Philippines due to the FAA audit.

However, United stopped short of saying the FAA’s safety review was completely over. 

“Importantly though, our work with the FAA continues,” the memo read. “There is more work to do, and we remain open to their perspective on things that can make us an even safer airline. That means we will continue to see an FAA presence in our operation as they review our work processes, manuals and facilities.”

The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

A Series of Safety Incidents Prompts FAA Review

The federal agency increased its oversight of United in March after a series of widely reported safety- and maintenance-related incidents. United CEO Scott Kirby sent a letter to passengers at the time, reiterating that safety is the company’s highest priority.

Kirby said in the letter that United would host an extra day of in-person training for pilots, along with a centralized training curriculum for newly hired maintenance technicians. 

The ease in restrictions also comes as United released a new onboard safety video on Thursday, which is set to debut in select aircraft starting May 25. The carrier said it worked with the FAA from October 2023 to March 2024 on the project.

“Safety is the foundation of everything we do at United,” said Sasha Johnson, United’s vice president of corporate safety in a statement. 

Airlines Sector Stock Index Performance Year-to-Date

What am I looking at? The performance of airline sector stocks within the ST200. The index includes companies publicly traded across global markets including network carriers, low-cost carriers, and other related companies.

The Skift Travel 200 (ST200) combines the financial performance of nearly 200 travel companies worth more than a trillion dollars into a single number. See more airlines sector financial performance. 

Read the full methodology behind the Skift Travel 200.

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