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FAA says future United projects ‘may be delayed’ due to increased oversight

CNN  —  The Federal Aviation Administration warned Saturday its increased oversight of United Airlines — after a string of nearly a dozen incidents on flights this month — may mean the troubled airline will have to put some of its future plans on hold. “Due to recent safety events, the FAA is increasing oversight of United Airlines to ensure that it is complying with safety regulations; identifying hazards and mitigating risk; and effectively managing safety,” an FAA spokesperson said in a statement. “Certification activities in process may be allowed to continue, but future projects may be delayed based on findings from oversight.” KOBI Related article United CEO tries to reassure customers following multiple safety incidents The FAA also said it would initiate an evaluation of the company’s safety management and compliance. The civil aviation authority’s stepped up oversight comes after a United Boeing 737-800 landed in Medford, Oregon, missing an external panel on March 15. While no passengers were injured, the incident was just one in a line of recent mishaps on United flights — all involving Boeing jets. In just the last month, another United Boeing plane spewed flames from an engine after taking off, one slid off the runway, one lost a wheel during takeoff and another trailed hydraulic fluid. The FAA did not specify what future projects may be delayed by its evaluation, but on Saturday, Bloomberg reported the agency is considering preventing United Airlines from adding new routes, curbing the airline’s growth. In a Friday memo, United told employees they would start seeing “more of an FAA presence in our operation as they begin to review some of our work processes, manuals and facilities.” United said the FAA’s review would mean an “even closer look at multiple areas of our operation to ensure we are doing all we can to promote and drive safety compliance.” United’s troubles come at a time of heightened safety concerns around Boeing, the manufacturer of most of the airline’s jets. The most notable mishap on a Boeing jet this year occurred on January 5, when an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 plane lost a door midflight, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the plane. Last week, a LATAM Airlines Boeing plane flying from Sydney, Australia, to Auckland, New Zealand, suddenly plunged in midair, injuring some passengers as they were thrown to the cabin’s ceiling.