FAA Cites ‘Systemic’ Hazard at United

The FAA has put United on notice of its concerns that mandatory pilot-qualification and scheduling procedures were not being adhered to.

In a story broken just this week by the Wall Street Journal, it was revealed that United is under scrutiny from the FAA for “systemic” hazards.

The FAA in a February letter to the airline expressed concern that mandatory pilot-qualification and scheduling procedures were not being adhered to.

Citing 12 voluntary reports of related violations within 13 months, the FAA inferred a “systemic” hazard, requiring United to conduct “a complete review of your processes associated with crew member qualification” and develop an “action plan … to mitigate this hazard.”

Although the letter stopped short of mentioning specific violations, it’s generally interpreted to mean that United’s process of regularly requalifying its pilots has grown lax, and that pilots may be working more than the recommended number of hours. Bottom line: pilots who are undertrained and overworked.

Both are ultimately issues that could affect passenger safety.

United claims that the lapses have been addressed, but the FAA has yet to signal its approval of the airline’s fixes.

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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