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United Airlines Boeing plane lands safety but missing external panel

by Staff

A United Airlines flight using a Boeing plane to fly from San Francisco to Oregon late this week landed with one of its external panels missing, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The plane landed safely, but it was the latest in a string of incidents for both United and the troubled airplane maker Boeing.

The flight, on a a Boeing 737-800, left San Francisco International Airport on Friday morning and landed safely at Rogue Valley International Medford Airport in Oregon. United Airlines said it discovered that the panel was missing after the flight landed and parked at the gate, The New York Times reports. It remained unclear when or how it came off, The Times reports, and the airline said there were no signs of any damage during the flight itself.

“We’ll conduct a thorough examination of the plane and perform all the needed repairs before it returns to service,” United said in a statement. “We’ll also conduct an investigation to better understand how this damage occurred.”

United Airlines is having a rough go of it lately.

Late last week, a United plane going from San Francisco to Japan had to make an emergency landing in Los Angeles because a tire fell off after takeoff. There were no injuries. Within the span of a few days, A United flight landing in Houston from Memphis veered off the runway at George Bush International Airport. There were no injuries. The same day, a United flight en route to Mexico City from San Francisco also had to land in Los Angeles after a hydraulics issue. There were no injuries. The plane was an Airbus A320. Last Saturday, a United plane going from Chicago to Salt Lake City had to turn around because of an engine oil indicator light. There were no injures. The plane was an Airbus A320.

On Monday, a United flight from Houston to Fort Meyers, Florida had to turn around because a mechanical issue led to flames spewing from the engines. There were no injuries. The plane was a Boeing 737. And on Tuesday, a flight that was heading to San Francisco from Sydney, Australia had to dump a bunch of fuel and turn around after a mysterious “maintenance issue.”

United also signaled this week that it’s tired of waiting for delivery of delayed Boeing planes it ordered and may switch to Airbus.

Boeing, of course, continues to deal with numerous safety inquiries into its troubled 737 Max planes and other issues and scandals. Fitch Ratings this week moved Boeing’s credit rating closer to junk bond status.

-Melvin Backman contributed to this article.

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