A series of aircraft incidents — from a falling tire to an engine fire — prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to place United Airlines under “enhanced surveillance.”

The airline confirmed this to its employees in a March 22 letter from Sasha Johnson, vice president of corporate safety for United Airlines.

“The number of safety-related events in recent weeks has rightly made us pause and evaluate whether we can and should do something differently,” she wrote. “We recently increased our interactions with the FAA and they echoed these sentiments.”

FAA officials confirmed in a statement Monday.

“Due to recent safety events, the FAA is increasing its oversight of United Airlines to ensure the company is in compliance with safety regulations; identifying hazards, mitigating risks and effectively managing safety,” FAA officials said.

One of the recent events was one in which it was discovered that a piece of outer aluminum skin had fallen from the belly of a United Boeing 737 after it landed in Oregon on March 15. On March 7, a United plane suffered an engine fire during takeoff from Houston, and a tire fell off another United plane as it left San Francisco on March 8, the Associated Press reported.

Other problems included a hydraulic leak and a plane going off a taxiway and getting stuck in the grass in Houston. No one was injured in any of the incidents, AP reports. The tire that fell from the plane struck a car and shattered its rear window before breaking through a fence and coming to rest in a neighboring property.

“They agree that we need to take a closer look at several areas of our operations to ensure we are doing everything we can to promote and promote safety compliance,” Johnson wrote. “In the coming weeks, we will begin to see more FAA presence in our operations as they review some of our work processes, manuals and facilities.”

What impact this might have on travelers was not answered by the airline or the FAA. United considers Newark Liberty Airport one of its most important hubs.

As part of the effort, the FAA will suspend some certification activities for a period of time, Johnson told employees.

FAA officials said ongoing certification activities may continue, but future projects could be postponed based on monitoring findings. The FAA will also initiate an evaluation of United Airlines under the provisions of the Certificate Holder Evaluation Process.

One of those criteria includes assessing whether the (aviation) certificate holder manages safety effectively. According to the FAA website, accidents, incidents or occurrences are among the conditions for conducting an evaluation.

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Larry Higgs can be reached at lhiggs@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on X @CommutingLarry

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