The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Monday that it intends to fine United Airlines more than $1.1 million. The Chicago carrier is being accused of operating unairworthy Boeing 777 aircraft for nearly three years.
The story began in June 2018. The airline's management has decided to remove one of the required maintenance checks from the mandatory 777 pre-flight check list. According to United, this check is redundant, and, moreover, the corresponding regulation change has been approved by the FAA.
What, according to the carrier, turned out to be superfluous? United Airlines stopped testing the fire warning system and did not do so until April 2021, when the FAA intervened and ordered United to resume necessary preflight work.
“The cancellation of the inspection resulted in United not performing the required operations and operating aircraft that did not meet airworthiness requirements,” — FAA said in a statement regarding the imposition of a large civil penalty in the amount of $1,149,306.
United Airlines has 30 days to prepare a reasoned response.
The statement of the representative of the airline says : “The safety of our flights has never been questioned. In 2018, United changed its pre-flight checklist to reduce the redundant built-in checks automatically performed by the 777.
“The FAA reviewed and approved the change to the control list at the time it was made,” — continued in the statement.
According to a United spokesman, the airline has not yet responded to the FAA's request and is considering both options, including payment of a fine.
According to official data, United currently operates 97 Boeing 777s, including the extended range -200, 200ER and the extended 777–300.
In 2008, United briefly suspended operations on its entire Boeing 777 fleet after discovering that its mechanics the fire extinguishing device in the cargo hold of the aircraft was not routinely checked.
The device is a cylinder designed to extinguish a fire in the cargo hold. It contains a gas that absorbs oxygen. United has accused manufacturer Boeing of inadvertently omitting the test from an updated operating manual.
And in September 2021, United was forced to land 25 of its Boeing 777s after it was found it had failed to carry out a required test front wing panels on these aircraft.