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FAA allows United Airlines to add new planes, routes after safety review

A United Airlines 737 Max 8

Leslie Josephs | CNBC

United Airlines said the Federal Aviation Administration authorized it to add new planes and routes months after the regulator intensified its review of the carrier following several safety incidents.

“Today we received some good news: After careful review and discussion of the proactive safety measures United has taken to date, our FAA Certificate Management Office has allowed us to begin the process of restarting our certification activities, including new aircraft and routes, and we will continue to coordinate closely with the FAA,” United said in a memo to employees Wednesday.

United said in March that the FAA had increased its checks on the airline after a series of several incidents earlier this year. This prevented it from launching new routes, including flights to Faro, Portugal, before the peak summer season.

The FAA authorization is good news as United and other carriers expect a record peak season this year.

Among safety incidents in recent months, a United Boeing 777 bound for Japan lost a tire shortly after takeoff from San Francisco in February, and a missing panel was discovered on a Boeing 737 after it landed in the Oregon in March.

United, however, said they still had work to do.

“We will continue to see an FAA presence in our operations as they review our work processes, manuals and facilities,” he said in his memo to employees.

The FAA did not immediately comment.

Although the planes involved older jets, the incidents come amid increased scrutiny of the aviation industry after a door plug blew off a nearly new plane.Boeing 737 Max 9 operated by Alaska Airlines at the start of the year, a near disaster which created a new crisis for the manufacturer.

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