By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Monday said it is proposing to fine United Airlines $1.1 million for allegedly conducting Boeing 777 flights without making required preflight fire system warning checks.
The FAA said Chicago-based United is believed to have flown more than 102,000 flights of its Boeing 777 aircraft between June 2018 and April 2021 that did not meet U.S. airworthiness requirements – a period of approximately 1,025 days.
During that period United “removed the fire system warning check from its Boeing 777 preflight check list. The inspection is required in the maintenance specifications manual. Removal of the check resulted in United’s failure to perform the required check.”
United Airlines has 30 days to respond to the FAA’s civil penalty letter sent to Chief Executive Scott Kirby
United said on Monday “the safety of our flights was never in question. In 2018 United changed its pre-flight checklist to account for redundant built-in checks performed automatically by the 777.”
The airline said the FAA reviewed and approved the checklist change at the time it was done.
“In 2021, the FAA informed United that United’s maintenance program called for the pre-flight check by pilots. Once confirmed, United immediately updated its procedures,” the airline said.
United said it “will review the FAA’s proposed civil penalty and respond accordingly.”
The FAA penalty letter said United’s Technical Operations is responsible for ensuring that the Boeing Fire Warning System check is accomplished.
(Reporting by David ShepardsonEditing by Bill Berkrot and Marguerita Choy)