Last updated: 03:14 PM ET, Fri April 10 2015

FAA Steps Up Oversight of United Airlines

Airlines & Airports | United Airlines | Rich Thomaselli | April 10, 2015

FAA Steps Up Oversight of United Airlines

In the wake of its own damning internal email to pilots to more or less shape up after several major safety events and near-misses, United Airlines has been under increased scrutiny from the Federal Aviation Administration, according to a new report.

The Wall Street Journal has viewed a letter from the FAA sent to United’s chief safety officer dated Feb. 6 – less than one month after United’s internal memo – with the government agency saying United suffers from “repeated violations of mandatory pilot qualification and scheduling requirements.”

The FAA went so far as to call it a “hazard.”

The Jan. 9 internal memo was sent by Howard Attarian, senior vice president of flight operations, and Mike Quiello, vice president of corporate safety, to pilots.

The stern memo – with the subject line "SAFETY ALERT: Significant safety concerns" – communicated to pilots a series of incidents, or events, that United said were “preventable.”

“The common thread with all of these is that they are preventable,” Attarian and Quiello wrote. “We must ask ourselves, ‘Do we have our priorities in line every time we put on our uniforms and strap into the airplane?’ ”

The WSJ report noted that United sent the FAA a series of proposed corrective measures on March 25 and considers the matter closed, but an FAA spokeswoman told the Journal that the agency is currently evaluating the carrier’s response.

The wording of the FAA letter seems to indicate the agency is less concerned about the near-misses as to what led up to them – training and qualifications.

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