West News Wire: Federal regulators have accused United Airlines of operating flights with aircraft that hadn’t undergone a specific safety check; however, United has referred to the check as “redundant” given other systems. United is now facing a potential $1.15 million punishment.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the penalties on Monday and said that from June 2018 to April 2021, United omitted the inspection step called for in its maintenance specifications document, the fire system warning check, from its Boeing 777 pre-flight checklist.
According to a letter from the FAA, United flew more than 100,000 flights using the Boeing 777 during this time.
The agency stated in a press release that “removing the check resulted in United’s failure to execute the mandatory check and the operating of aircraft that did not meet airworthiness rules.”
United, however, said it changed its pre-flight checklist in 2018 “to account for redundant built-in checks performed automatically by the 777” and that the FAA reviewed and approved the change at the time.
“The safety of our flights was never in question,” United said in a statement.
The airline said it will review the proposed penalty and “respond accordingly.”
“The fire test on a jetliner, like the 777, is really very comprehensive,” former commercial pilot John Nance explained in an interview. “It’s just testing for all the circuitry to make sure that everything is working right.”
“The airplane actually does this itself, but it has been traditional for pilots to follow up and do a test,” Nance said.