United Airlines CEO assures rattled passengers recent safety incidents ‘have our attention’

The CEO of United Airlines Holdings Inc. wants passengers to know that the four “incidents” involving its aircraft over the past two weeks have caught his “attention.”

In a message to United’s understandably rattled passengers, CEO Scott Kirby wrote, “Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, our airline has experienced a number of incidents that are reminders of the importance of safety.”

Those incidents include an external panel that was “found to [be] missing from a United aircraft when it landed in Oregon” last Friday, Reuters reports. The emergency prompted an investigation by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

Prior to that, a United Airlines plane taking off from San Francisco International Airport lost a tire shortly after taking off, BizPac Review reported. United Flight 35 was headed to Japan but was diverted to Los Angeles, where it landed safely. And a Boeing 737 MAX 8 for United Airlines reportedly incurred landing gear failure during an attempt to land at Houston Intercontinental Airport, resulting in the plane going off of the runway.

“While they are all unrelated,” Kirby said of the emergencies, “I want you to know that these incidents have our attention and have sharpened our focus.”

“Our team is reviewing the details of each case to understand what happened and using those insights to inform our safety training and procedures across all employee groups,” Kirby assured passengers.

“Safety is our highest priority and is at the center of everything we do,” he stated in the letter, which Zero Hedge published.

But, just in case, the CEO wanted passengers to know that the airline was already making some changes, “including an extra day of in-person training for all pilots starting in May and a centralized training curriculum for our new-hire maintenance technicians.”

“We’re also dedicating more resources to supplier network management,” he wrote.

If “they see something wrong,” employees, Kirby said, are empowered “to speak up and raise their hand.”

“You can be confident that every time a United plane pulls away from the gate, everyone on our team is working together to keep you safe on your trip,” he wrote.

“I’m confident,” Kirby wrote, “that we’ll learn the right lessons from these recent incidents and continue to run an operation that puts safety first and makes our employees and customers proud.”

Confidence is a big ask, considering the alarming images of United flights that have flooded social media in recent days.

“Nothing To See Here, Look Away!” remarked one user on X in response to Kirby’s assurances. “Trust Us!”

Melissa Fine


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