The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed a fine of almost half a million dollars on United Airlines for flying a plane that was not in "airworthy condition."
The issue stems from a Boeing Dreamliner that United mechanics serviced on 9 June 2014. The airline replaced a fuel pump pressure switch in response to a problem documented by a flight crew two days before the repair. Rather than immediately performing the required inspection, according to the FAA, United put the plane back into service.
According to the federal government, the plane was flown 23 times on domestic and international routes before the new switch was inspected on 28 June 2014.
According to the FAA, two of those flights happened after the agency told the airline it had yet to perform the inspection. The agency has proposed a $435,000 fine.
"At United, the safety of our customers and employees is our top priority," Charles Hobart, a spokesman for United, told CNBC in a written statement. "We immediately took action after identifying the issue and are working closely with the FAA in their review."
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said, "Maintaining the highest levels of safety depends on operators closely following all applicable rules and regulations,'' CNBC reported, adding, ''Failing to do so can create unsafe conditions."
The FAA said United had asked for a meeting with the agency to ''discuss the case.''
The going had been tough for United recently. The airline attracted bad press after a passenger was violently dragged off one of its flights in April for not giving up his seat and a video of the incident quickly went viral.
The passenger, Dr David Dao brought a suit against the carrier for an undisclosed amount which it had since settled.
In another incident that hurt the airline's image, a three-foot-long rabbit was found dead after it flew with United.